Rocco Appears in Court as Madonna and Guy Ritchie's Custody Battle Moves to London: Judge Urges End to 'Deeply Regrettable' Dispute

Legal discussions were held in a private hearing on Thursday

Photo: Splash News Online

Rocco Ritchie made his first appearance in court Thursday as Madonna and Guy Ritchie‘s custody battle returned to the High Court in London.

The latest installment of the exes legal fight over their 15-year-old son took place under severely restricted reporting conditions on account of Rocco’s age.

High Court Judge Alistair MacDonald ordered that all of the legal arguments heard inside Court 39 of the Royal Courts of Justice will remain private. Ritchie, wife Jacqui and Rocco attended Thursday’s proceedings, while Madonna – who is currently in Australia for her Rebel Heart tour – was unable to attend either U.K. hearing.

Thursday’s hearing was the second part of a British legal proceeding which began March 3. Its purpose is to decide whether Madonna, 57, should be allowed to withdraw her legal action in the U.K. to concentrate solely on her U.S. litigation.

Last Thursday, Madonna’s attorney David Williams QC told Justice MacDonald that Madonna had initially launched proceedings in England under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, but had since decided to stop the litigation.

“It is her desire that this is resolved as quickly as possible,” Williams said during the initial hearing, reports The Guardian.

In response, Judge MacDonald echoed the words of New York Supreme Court judge Deborah Kaplan, urging Ritchie and Madonna to reach an “amicable settlement” to the “highly unfortunate and deeply regrettable” family dispute.

“An amicable negotiated resolution is definitely the way forward and in Rocco’s best interests,” he added. The former couple had nearly come to a compromise last week before it fell apart ahead of the March 2 hearing in New York. Another hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 1 in the event they are unable to reach a resolution.

As for how Rocco’s life as his custody arrangement is still in limbo, “He’s enjoying himself [and] having a good educational experience” at his new school in London – but he finds the ongoing litigation and spotlight of the media “stressful,” his court-appointed attorney said at the New York hearing last week.

Reps for Madonna and Ritchie did not immediately return requests for comment.

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