Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford was ecstatic after a California judge ruled that she would receive temporary custody of her children and that they immediately be flown to the U.S. from Monaco. However, the joy was short-lived as a second California judge has overturned the ruling. The judge will not make a ruling in the custody battle hearing until Kelly’s ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, has a hearing on June 15.
People Magazine reports that the custody battle between Kelly Rutherford and ex-husband Daniel Giersch, a German businessman, began in 2012 after Giersch’s U.S. visa was revoked. The visa was revoked after accusations of “illegal activities.” The pair had shared joint custody of their two children prior to the revocation of the visa, but Giersch was forced to leave the country, so Kelly sought to have the children placed in her sole care. However, a judge ruled the joint custody agreement should stand and with Giersch unable to travel to the U.S. to visit them, the judge ruled that the children were to live in Monaco with their father with Kelly traveling to visit them.
Kelly’s lawyer says that having the full brunt of the travel burden has caused the Gossip Girl actress to file bankruptcy as the legal bills associated with the custody battle and the travel expenses were too much to bear. The bankruptcy documents from 2013 reveal that Kelly Rutherford accumulated almost $1.5 million in legal fees for her divorce and custody proceedings in addition to $350,000 in income taxes she owes for 2012. She also noted an American Express bill of $25,251 and that friends are now having to pay for the trips to Monaco to visit her children.
Meanwhile, ex-husband Daniel Giersch says that the custody battle should be moved to Monaco courts as the children have lived there since 2012. However, Kelly Rutherford’s lawyer, Wendy Murphy, whole-heartedly disagrees and says it will set a dangerous precedent. In fact, it is noted that there has not been another custody battle like Kelly’s in the history of the U.S. justice system. Never has a judge ordered two children with sole American citizenship to live in another country.
“There has never been a case like this in the history of this nation. There has never been a case of a family court judge issuing an order commanding American citizen children to live in a foreign country. And our concern is that if we don’t prevail, this will set a very dangerous precedent.”
Murphy also notes that if Kelly does not win custody of her children, it could mean that children in the future may be forced to live in countries such as Iraq or Somalia despite being sole American citizens.
“If this could happen to Kelly’s children, what would stop any judge from ordering any American born child to move to Iraq or Somalia? If a judge has discretion to do this, then the next step will be a different judge in another courtroom commanding American children to get on a plane and move to Afghanistan. There’s no prohibition on that under this court’s analysis, which I think is frightening.”
Though the judge has halted the return of Kelly Rutherford’s children for the June 15 hearing, the judge has in no way relinquished jurisdiction in the case to Monaco. Kelly’s lawyer says that the judge is simply allowing the ex to have a hearing before the removal, which she says no one is objecting to.
What do you think of Kelly Rutherford’s custody battle? Is it setting a scary precedent for American children to be sent abroad with non-citizen parents?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Jemal Countess]