“This is far beyond a situation about Rocco – it’s about a situation between Madonna and Guy,” a friend of the former couple tells PEOPLE of their squabble over their 15-year-old son. “They don’t have a good relationship; it’s more of a power fight between them and if he can one-up her. This is the best way he can do it.”
Rocco was on the road with his mom for her Rebel Heart tour for about three months in the fall before leaving to stay with his dad in London. When he refused to come back to the U.S. for the holidays, Madonna appeared in a New York City courtroom on Dec. 23, where a judge ordered that Rocco return to N.Y.C. to work out his living situation, per reports.
The teen has yet to follow the judge’s orders and return to New York, according to a source close to the singer, who alleges he has missed some school.
Madonna, 57, and Ritchie, 47, have had a rocky rapport for years, even after their contentious divorce came to a close in 2008, when the Grammy winner agreed to pay the British director $76 million in their divorce settlement.
“Prior to their divorce, [their relationship] was horrible,” the friend adds.
The exes are due in court in New York Feb. 3 for a second hearing; reps for each could not be reached for comment.
• Reporting by ELIZABETH McNEIL