While actress Kelly Rutherford has been very vocal in the media about her long custody battle over her children with ex-husband Daniel Giersch, those familiar with international custody laws are not surprised at the outcome of the case so far. The two children were born in America, but their father is German. They have been residing with him in Monaco for a few years ever since a California judge ruled that the children would live with their father and the mother would go to Monaco to visit. The reason for this was reportedly that Giersch was having issues with his visa.
Earlier this year, Rutherford alleged that Giersch had refused her visitation, and she was awarded temporary custody of the children and they were returned to her in the United States. Shortly after this, however, both California and New York courts ruled that they had no jurisdiction over the case and that the children would have to be returned to Monaco. Rutherford initially refused to give the children back but did eventually present them at a court hearing where they were taken to the airport by their paternal grandmother.
Now the case will be continued back in Monaco, and many experts familiar with family law are expecting the children’s living situation to remain as it has been for the past years. This is partly because they have been there since 2012. Monaco may consider children as residents of the country after they have been living there for as short of a time period as a year, which means the Monaco courts may rule that the children continue to stay in the country for the bulk of their time.
The other issue that may move the case in the father’s favor is the actresses failure to return the children after she was ordered to do so. This technically counts as a parental abduction according to the international laws that both countries subscribe to. While it is possible that the mother will be granted visitation, she very well may continue to have to travel to Monaco and have limited access to ensure she is not a flight risk with the children. As this case moves forward, it is likely to continue to serve as an example for others involved in international custody battles.
Source: MSNBC, “Kelly Rutherford custody case moves to Monaco,” Lisa Green, Sep. 02, 2015