Madonna, Custody & Education

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Monday, February 8, 2016.

Madonna and her ex-husband are locked in a child custody battle over their son. Surprisingly, the child’s education is the big issue being fought over. How does a court resolve education disputes?

Madonna and Guy were divorced in 2008. They have a son together. A Manhattan Civil Supreme Court judge ordered the son to return to Madonna in New York. The 15-year-old has been living with his father at his London home.

The child is rumored to want to live with his father. Madonna thinks the father is turning her son against her:

“He’s telling Rocco he should stay with him. It seems like he’s trying to brainwash the kid.”

The fight is centered around parenting-styles: how much pressure about education should be placed on their son. He is set to take the Regents, the high school qualification exams in New York.

The Father has publicly stated he is “anti-school,” and “anti-people putting so much pressure on kids and robbing their childhood by giving them so much homework. I think if kids want to arse around, then they should.”

Conversely, Madonna pays attention to education and discipline (like taking away cellphone use). Her discipline may be influencing her son, who now wants to be with his more lenient father. Madonna’s daughter attends the University of Michigan.

I’ve written about custody issues before. In Florida, shared parental responsibility is the preferred relationship between parents. In fact, courts are instructed to order parents to share parental responsibility of a child unless it would be detrimental to the child.

Issues relating to a child’s education are major decisions affecting the welfare of a child. When parents cannot agree, the dispute is resolved in court. At the trial, the test applied is the best interests of the child.

Determining the best interests of a child is based on an evaluation of statutory factors, and one equitable catch-all factor, affecting the welfare and interests of the child and the circumstances of the child’s family.

The statute authorizes one parent to have ultimate responsibility for certain decisions. For example, education is an area of ultimate responsibility a court can award. When a decision on education goes to trial, the court grants one parent ultimate responsibility to make that decision.

Madonna and Guy are due in New York Supreme Court on March 2 to sort out these custody decisions.

The Us Magazine article is here.