The custody battle between Madonna and Guy Ritchie has exploded in spectacular style, with the iconic singer accusing her ex-husband of encouraging their 15 year old son Rocco to disrespect the law by staying with him in London, and demanding that he be arrested for “contempt” of court.

Madonna’s legal team made the dramatic demand in New York’s Supreme Court on Wednesday (March 2nd), as both her and Ritchie listened in via telephone. She argued that Ritchie’s failure to ensure Rocco got on a plane to New York back in December, despite a court order to that effect, was enough to constitute contempt of court in addition to setting a bad example to their son.

MadonnaMadonna pictured in 2015

Her lawyer, Eleanor Alter, told the court: “He taught his son that obeying court orders was not important and I think that's one of the most serious things that's happened in this case that's detrimental to Rocco.”

Ritchie’s lawyer Peter Bronstein angrily rejected such claims, saying that Ritchie hadn’t even been held in contempt and so couldn’t be considered for an arrest.

The court also heard that the ex-couple was on the verge of hashing out a deal themselves, but that it had collapsed just a few hours before the hearing started.

More: Philippines Archbishop urges Catholics to boycott Madonna concerts

As the legal teams’ exchanges became increasingly ill-tempered, Justice Deborah Kaplan ordered that Madonna and Ritchie resolve the dispute by themselves, saying that the dispute is having a negative impact on Rocco and urged the parties not to take up “entrenched” positions.

Guy RitchieGuy Ritchie with his new wife Jacqui Ainsley

“Frankly both parties have chosen to live their lives in a very public way and may welcome the publicity, but the child has not," she ruled while adjourning the case until June 1st, effectively meaning that Rocco would be staying in London with Ritchie for the meantime unless his parents get round the negotiating table again. "He would like this matter resolved and the issues concerning him and his family in the most private way possible.”

After the hearing concluded, Madonna took to social media to air her grievances, posting a rather graphic image of a woman with a sizeable bottom sitting on a man, who appears to be unconscious, writing the caption ‘knowledge is power’ underneath. The image appeared on her private Instagram account yesterday.

More: Madonna shares another throwback photo of Rocco, as custody battle draws nearer