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Holiday custody dispute for Madonna

Virginia residents who enjoy the music of Madonna or the films of director Guy Ritchie may be interested to learn that the couple's 15-year-old son has requested permission to remain with his father rather than returning to his mother after the Christmas holidays. However, the teen apparently initiated litigation in the wrong jurisdiction.

According to the New York Supreme Court justice who presided over a hearing on the matter on Dec. 23, New York, where Madonna lives, has jurisdiction in this case because it is where Ritchie and Madonna filed for divorce. Their son is in the United Kingdom with his father, but the justice at the Dec. 23 hearing said that the boy had to return to his mother. In New York, he will have access to a court-appointed lawyer.

The teenager worked on his mother's tour in the past year, and it is not known why he wants to change his residence. Both parents have been forbidden by the New York judge to discuss the case with him.

Making child custody decisions can be painful for both parents and children, and over time, circumstances may change so that the original arrangements are no longer suitable. However, it is still necessary to go through the proper channels in order to make child custody modifications. If the parents live in different states or countries, the order modification motion must be filed in the correct jurisdiction. An older child may have some say in which parent they live with, but a judge will attempt to make a decision that is in the child's best interests. In some cases, a change in physical custody may lead to significantly less visitation time with one parent.

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

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