UPDATE – New Strategy in Rutherford’s International Custody Battle

In Gossip Girl Kelly Rutherford’s ongoing International Custody Battle, there have been significant changes this week that alter her legal team’s strategy. Rutherford and her New York attorney, Wendy Murphy, will continue to fight to keep the two children, Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, in the United States. The children had been living with their father, German Businessman Daniel Giersch, in Monaco since 2012 when his U.S. Visa was revoked. He has failed to reapply for another Visa that was one of the requirements of the custody orders. Rutherford has been traveling to Monaco to visit the children and has had summers with them in the U.S. but has been fighting for custody for six years.

Rutherford had split her residence between California and New York. She had been fighting for custody through the California family court system. Judges in California recently ruled that the state has no jurisdiction in the custody case because she does not live there full-time. New York also denied jurisdiction because judges declared that her case should be handled in the California courts.

Previously, Rutherford and her lawyers were trying to gain custody by demonstrating that moving the kids back to America with their mother would be in the children’s best interests. With no U.S. jurisdiction for custody trials at their disposal, Rutherford’s legal team will turn their attention to the argument for the citizenship rights of Hermes and Helena, both United States’ citizens, to reside here.

“This new jurisdiction vacuum leaves the children with only their American constitutional citizenship rights to protect them from forced exile, and as rights go, there’s nothing stronger than citizenship so we are optimistic,” explained attorney Wendy Murphy in a July 27 article in E! Online titled, “Kelly Rutherford’s Custody Battle Won’t Be Heard in a New York Court, Judge Rules There’s No Jurisdiction.”

For the moment, the children are living with their mother in New York. She has expressed her joy at being reunited with her kids after such a hard-fought and highly-publicized custody battle during which she told People Magazine, she “met with presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, reached out to Secretary of State John Kerry and asked the State Department for help ‘to no avail’ and describes what has happened to her as a ‘legal kidnapping.’ Her petition asking President Barack Obama to intervene has received more than 100,000 signatures, and she has testified at congressional hearings twice.”

The E! article states, “Rutherford and Giersch split up in 2010 after about four years of marriage. Their kids have been primarily in Monaco with Giersch since 2012, and Rutherford star filed for bankruptcy in 2013, stating that the costs of fighting the custody battle had depleted her finances.” Some reports indicate that Rutherford has spent upwards of $1 million fighting for custody.

The high-profile case brings to light many of the struggles of other International divorced couples to share custody. For more information about International Custody arrangements, contact experienced family law attorney, Kathryn Wayne-Spindler at 248-676-1000.