California residents who have followed the marriage and subsequent divorce of director Guy Ritchie and singer Madonna may have heard that the former couple's son has expressed a wish to remain with his father in London rather than returning to his mother in New York after the holiday break. On Dec. 21, the teenager initiated litigation requesting permission to remain.
However, he filed in the United Kingdom, where his father lives, and according to a New York Supreme Court justice, it is New York that have jurisdiction in the case. The couple originally filed for divorce in New York, and at that time, it was agreed that their children would remain with Madonna.
On Dec. 23, the justice said that the 15-year-old had to return to his mother. She also said that the parents could not discuss the case with their son. On his return to New York, the teenager will receive a court-ordered attorney.
Even in families without international ties, jurisdictional problems may arise in child custody cases. However, it is necessary to conduct legal proceedings in the court that has jurisdiction. Furthermore, when parents live some distance from one another, custody issues may become more fraught. A child's preference in living with one parent may result in the child rarely seeing the other parent. A court attempts to rule in what it can assess as the child's best interests, and the wishes of older children are sometimes taken into account. The situation may become more complex if one parent feels that the other parent may have unduly influenced their child in this decision. Attorneys may be helpful in some cases at reaching an agreement that satisfies both parents as well as the child.
Source: New York Daily News, "EXCLUSIVE: Madonna feuds with ex Guy Ritchie over custody of son, teen wants to stay with director dad in London," Barbara Ross and Stephen Rex Brown, Dec. 24, 2015