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Madonna and Guy Ritchie settle custody battle

Madonna and her ex-husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, have finally reached a settlement in their custody battle, ending a bitter nine-month dispute.

Madonna and Ritchie have been fighting over custody of their teenage son, Rocco, since last December. At that time, Rocco refused to follow a court order which instructed him to travel from his father's home in London to live with his mother in New York. Reports said Rocco wanted to live with Ritchie in London, rather than in New York with Madonna.

In March, a U.K. judge ruled that the dispute over Rocco's custody and residency should be handled by New York courts and encouraged an amicable resolution through mediation. The judge expressed that Rocco, age 15 at the time, had only a few years of his childhood left and that a continued dispute would be a "very great tragedy for Rocco."

Both parents were scheduled to attend a hearing on Wednesday, September 7th, but instead, they settled the matter privately, letting the judge know just hours before they were to appear. While details of the settlement remain confidential, it seems Rocco will remain in London with his father and visit his mother often.

Negotiation and collaboration leads to positive results

What can we learn from Madonna, Ritchie and Rocco? When it comes to custody cases, it is important to work together to come up with an agreement that all parties can live with. Working together, rather than fighting, will typically result in a faster, more amicable outcome. A collaborative approach can also help preserve a relationship between the parents and lay the foundation for effective co-parenting going forward.

At Philip A. Greenberg, P.C., Attorneys at Law, we offer this advice: If you are in the midst of a custody battle or about to embark on custody proceedings, don't let your kids become enmeshed in a bitter fight. Keep an open mind and seek out an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights and interests, and to help you negotiate.

A knowledgeable lawyer can help resolve a child custody case through informal negotiations, through an out-of-court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding or in a traditional court setting, if necessary. A vast majority of custody cases are resolved outside of court, usually through settlement negotiations or an ADR process (usually mediation or collaborative family law).

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