Madonna and Guy Ritchie will have to narrow their legal battle down to New York.
The A-list exes faced off again in court Monday over custody of their son Rocco Ritchie, where a U.K. judge ruled that their dispute should be settled in the New York Courts. The judge said Madonna could drop her London court proceedings to focus on the stateside ones, but he didn’t rule whether Rocco should return to the Big Apple to be with his mother.
He also urged the “Express Yourself” singer and her ex to work together to settle the custody dispute privately, which has played out in the media in a very public way. “For all the media coverage, comment and analysis, this is a case born out of circumstances that arise for countless separated parents the world over,” the judge said.
Earlier in March a New York Supreme Court judged urged the same thing, adding that they should also stop putting pressure on their 15-year-old son.
Rocco used to travel with Madonna on her Rebel Heart tour, but left to stay with his father in London, where he’s now enrolled in school. At the March 2 hearing, everyone agreed that Rocco should remain in London until his parents can come to an agreement.
“In the seven years since the family has been assigned to me, this is the first issue we’ve had with their children,” the judge, who also worked with the couple on their divorce, said during the hearing.
In addition to Rocco, Guy and Madonna also share another son, David, 10, who lives with and travels with the singer and his sister, Mercy, 10. Madonna also has another daughter, Lourdes Leon, 19, who is studying at the University of Michigan.
The legal battle has taken a toll on the “Material Girl” songstress, who recently broke down in concert. Before dedicating “La Vie en Rose” to her son in New Zealand, Madonna became overcome with emotion while talking about Rocco.
“That is my son, who I mentioned earlier. He is actually 15 and it’s true, there is no love stronger than a mother for her son,” she told the crowd. “And, if I talk about him too much, I might cry. But I would like to dedicate this song to him. It’s a love song for a man, but I know he’ll be one, one day. I hope he hears this somewhere and knows how much I miss him.”
If Madonna and Guy can’t come to an agreement, they’ll meet again on June 1 when they have a tentative hearing scheduled.