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Making The Complex Understandable

Actress wins summer custody of children in battle with ex

It's been a long and complicated international child custody battle for actress Kelly Rutherford, and it's not over. However, the former "Gossip Girl" and "Melrose Place" cast member has won a victory, at least for the summer. A judge ruled that her children, who are 6 and 8 years old, could spend the summer with her in the U.S. However, he left it up to the battling exes to work out the logistics of the transfer.

That decision, which was made after a consultation with a judge in Monaco, allows Rutherford to the summer custody that was detailed in a custody order two years ago. She has had the children with her the previous two summers. However, the children's father, who is a German citizen, has fought the custody exchange this year. Rutherford said in a statement that despite this latest ruling, "I am concerned that he will try to further prevent me from spending time with them."

The custody situation became complicated a few years after the divorce when Rutherford's ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, was denied re-entry to the U.S. after he traveled abroad. The reasons for that denial are murky beyond a reference in documents to fraud, although there were reported rumors of involvement with drugs and weapons. Because he could no longer travel to the U.S. to visit his children, he was awarded primary custody of them.

The father and children have been living in France. It's not clear if they are still in France or are in Monaco. However, Rutherford has claimed that her ex wants to get their children's citizenship changed in a Monaco court. They have dual American/German citizenship.

Obviously this child custody case has its share of unique complications, with one parent being forbidden to enter the U.S. and the other parent whose career is here. However, all long-distance custody situations can be logistically challenging. When the parents involved are distrustful and angry, things get even more complicated. The children, of course, are stuck in the middle and may even be too young to fully comprehend what is happening. Experienced, compassionate legal guidance is essential to fight for your rights as a parent.

Source: CBS News, "Kelly Rutherford's children to spend summer with her in U.S.," June 12, 2015

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