Many people think that they have little, if any reason to care about celebrity divorces and child custody battles. However, the pain experienced in these cases is often the same for wealthy, famous and/or beautiful people as for anyone else.
The sad saga of actress Kelly Rutherford’s battle to gain custody of her two children from her ex-husband just had another twist in late May. Rutherford is perhaps best known by many for the television show “Gossip Girl.” She filed for divorce from her husband when she was pregnant with the couple’s second child. The two children are now 5 and 8.
The international custody battle began when the children’s father, Daniel Giersch, was prohibited from coming back into the U.S. after an overseas trip. Beyond a reference to fraud in a legal document, it’s unclear what the German-born entrepreneur did to warrant this ruling. A California judge ruled that the couple’s two children, who are both American citizens, should remain with him.
The ruling reportedly had nothing to do with Rutherford’s fitness as a parent, but with the belief that it was in the children’s best interests to live with him rather than have to travel overseas to visit him. At the time, they were just 2 and 5. The children have been living with their father in France and Monaco.
Rutherford has claimed that her ex-husband has refused to allow her to see her children. She has also alleged that he is attempting to change their current citizenship status, which is both U.S. and German.
Recently, Rutherford got positive news when she was awarded “sole and legal” custody temporarily. This would have allowed the kids to return to Los Angeles, at least for a time. However, another judge halted that order at the end of May. Now the case is in the hands of judges in both California and Monaco. They are expected to confer on the matter on June 11.
This is certainly a unique case, since one parent cannot re-enter the U.S. However, when parents who live in different states, let alone different countries, can’t come to a mutually-acceptable custody agreement, the terms handed down by a judge can be particularly harsh to one parent or the other. It’s essential to have legal guidance for an attorney with experience in handling difficult family law issues.
Source: ABC News, “Kelly Rutherford Can’t Bring Her Children Back to US Yet,” Anthony McCartney, AP, May 29, 2015