Those interested in international child custody cases have been keeping a close watch on the Kelly Rutherford custody battle, and a judge has finally ruled on whether the U.S. courts have jurisdiction over the case. According to reports, the actress and her ex-husband have been fighting over custody of the children for six years, and Rutherford's latest bid for custody came after she alleged that her ex-husband had refused to allow her to see the kids during a visit unless she turned over their passports.
On July 23, the California courts ruled that they no longer had jurisdiction over the case because Rutherford no longer lives in the state. The actress currently resides in New York, but New York also refuses jurisdiction saying that they cannot take over because the case was in California, according to Rutherford's lawyer. A judge in Monaco, where the children have been living with their father, has reportedly granted the father full custody.
The case may still not be settled, however. Rutherford will have the opportunity to appeal the California court's decision, and her attorney also noted that the courts have not yet responded to Monaco's claim of jurisdiction.
As seen here, international custody battles can be extremely time consuming and challenging. There are often multiple courts involved, and not every country has agreements with the United States to honor its custody orders. If you or your ex are planning on moving to another country or are already living there, it's important to talk with a family law attorney about what that could mean for your custody case.
Source: US Magazine, "Kelly Rutherford Denied Custody Case in New York, Considering Whether to Appeal California Court's Decision," Esther Lee, July 27, 2015