The high profile case of Madonna and Guy Ritchie fighting in courts in London and New York about the living arrangements for their son Rocco highlights now not to resolve post-separation parenting issues.

Madonna and Guy are very wealthy and can therefore afford the cost of litigation in two jurisdictions.  But will they be able to afford the ‘cost’ of the damage to their son by so public a debate?

At the age of 15, Rocco will have his own views about the arrangements that are to be made for him.  Rocco chose to stay in London with his father.  Whether or not the reasons for him making that decision were sound, it cannot be in his best interests for the matter to be paraded in public for the world to witness.

It is well known that teenage years can be challenging.  The typical teenager is trying to move away from family and to establish their own persona and to become independent.  There is therefore a fine balance to be drawn between treating them like young adults, and assuming parental responsibility that may run counter to their wishes.

It is important that teenagers are not burdened with the conflict of their parents, and are not exposed to the intimate details of the divorce.  Teenagers – like other younger children – do not want to be caught in the middle of the conflict between their parents.

What teenagers need is to have their voice heard, to be listened to and have their feelings validated, and taken into account.  Getting parents to listen to their children is not always easy, and there may well be things that children say that are unexpected, or even hurtful.  But it will be essential for any teenager to be given the freedom to voice their concerns and their wishes, and for parents to give them the space to do – especially considering post-separation parenting concerns.

Family mediation can help parents and their children find a way of talking and of listening, which will rarely be the case if the dispute is played out in court.

If you’d like to talk to us about post-separation parenting issues and family mediation, get in touch with us by calling 01923 431601, or by emailing

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