The 57 year old singer broke down during a concert in New Zealand on Friday following a preliminary hearing in the High Court in London on Thursday, where she had applied to invoke the Hague Convention for the return of her son Rocco to her care.

Madonna had already made a similar application to a New York court pleading for her ex husband, Guy Ritchie to return their son to her Manhattan home. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan in December ordered Ritchie to return Rocco to the US. However Ritchie refused the Judge’s plea indicating that Rocco wished to remain in England. Madonna alleged that Ritchie had retained Rocco last year after a visit and that she had care of Rocco since the pair’s divorce in 2008.

On Wednesday of last week the American Judge agreed to allow Rocco to remain in the UK with his father until such time as the couple settle their battle.

On the Thursday, Madonna’s application to the High Court in London was dealt with at a preliminary hearing. Madonna did not attend. However, despite her absence Judge Alistair Macdonald urged the pair to reach an amicable settlement and said that the person suffering the most was Rocco.

Madonna has requested that her application be withdrawn. Judge Macdonald has listed the case for a full hearing next week to determine whether to allow Madonna to withdraw her application or whether it will be in the best interests of Rocco for the Court to make a decision regarding his living arrangements. Both Judges read from the same hymn sheet with the American Judge having previously warned the couple, “no one is disrupting his household other than the inability of the parents to reach a resolution … If they cannot resolve this matter then eventually the court will.”

In England and Wales the Court’s paramount concern is the welfare of the child. The Court will take into account the wishes and feelings of a child regarding any application made, in light of his age and understanding. The Court does not like to act as a third parent and intervene to make decisions in respect of a child unless it is in their best interests to do so. The Court will always urge parents to reach an amicable agreement. This should also be attempted before resorting to Court proceedings. This is nearly always the best thing for both children and parents if the arrangements in place are those that are agreed between them. Often, when the Court decides arrangements neither parent will be content with the outcome.

A change in law in 2014 makes it mandatory, except in limited circumstances, that parties attempt mediation to try and resolve a dispute before resorting to Court proceedings.

Farleys offer fixed fee case management meetings to both parents and grandparents, to provide advice and guidance in relation to these types of disputes. We can also refer you to a number of local mediation services and assist you if necessary with an application to the Court. Contact us for more information and to speak to a member of our expert family law team.