Kelly Rutherford loses three-year child custody battle


December 16, 2015

Source: pagesix.com

Former “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford, 47, has failed to gain custody of her kids and will only be able to visit them in Monaco and France, according to a report Tuesday.

Kelly Rutherford 2015

Rutherford — who went bankrupt blowing $1.4 million on her bitter divorce from Daniel Giersch — was also awarded a paltry $3,281 a month in maintenance from the German-born businessman, the Daily Mail reported.

The rulings by a judge in Monaco followed a legal brawl that erupted in August, when Rutherford was forced to surrender son Hermes, 9, and daughter Helena, 6, to Giersch’s mom inside a closed New York City courtroom. One of the kids was heard shouting “Mommy!” through the doors before Rutherford emerged, looking distraught.

Kelly Rutherford with children Helena and Hermes, and Rutherford’s ex Daniel Giersch

Giersch — who won primary custody of the kids in 2013 — had accused Rutherford of breaking a promise to send them back to him in Monaco following a summer vacation in America.

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The nightmare that is Kelly Rutherford’s international custody battle


Actress Kelly Rutherford starred as glam-mom Lily van der Woodson on “Gossip Girl,” a delightfully guilty pleasure of a television drama. Lily swanned around Manhattan’s high-end zip codes, unaffected by the roiling, soapy family crises that were the show’s stock-in-trade.

But Rutherford’s recent star turn in a high-profile, protracted child custody dispute has filled television screens with a different image: that of a suffering mother grimly departing a downtown courthouse following another setback in her bid to persuade a judge to return her two young children, Hermes and Helena, from their father, Daniel Geirsch, in Monaco.

The actress has every right to look grim: International child custody disputes are among the most complicated, excruciatingly difficult battles parents and family lawyers can face.

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These disputes are a consequence of a more mobile, global era, and their numbers are on the rise. “We’re seeing more and more international custody fights,” says James McLaren, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who practices at McLaren & Lee in Columbia, South Carolina. “And people who don’t have significant means have no ability to fight them out.”

The Rutherford battle offers a glimpse into the complex issues at stake in a global custody war where at least one parent can afford to pursue a resolution in court.

1. Which court, in which country, should even take the case?

In the Rutherford-Geirsch matter, at least three jurisdictions have weighed in:

  • California, which originally issued a ruling that sent the children to their dad in Monaco, and, earlier this year, awarded Rutherford temporary custody, has decided it lacks the authority to deal with this case anymore;
  • New York, where Rutherford tried, unsuccessfully, to have her case heard; and
  • Monaco, where the couple is set to appear for a custody hearing next month.

Rutherford’s decision to move from California to New York seems, in retrospect, a tactical error, says McLaren. Under U.S. child custody law, a California court could be expected to opt out once the family left the state. And clearly the New York judge didn’t see enough state ties to the case to pick it up. These cases “open a lot of options of where you can litigate, and if you trip, you can be out of the game,” he says.

2. What if parents don’t play by the rules?

Rutherford made international headlines in early August when she decided not to return the children to their dad. She’s hardly alone: In 2013, according to State Department data, U.S. courts heard 364 international parental abduction cases about children taken from home and brought to the U.S.

When one parent moves children or refuses to send them back, more than 100 countries (including the U.S. and Monaco) follow the protocols of the Hague Child Abduction treaty, which generally encourages the speedy return of children. That treaty is probably what persuaded a New York judge to order Rutherford to return the children to Monaco.

“These treaties are meant to help avoid multiple courts ruling on the same matter, and to prevent parents from forum shopping,” which is how lawyers describe looking for a judge most likely to decide in that parent’s favor, says Melissa Kucinski, a family lawyer and mediator in Washington, D.C. with experience in Hague cases.

3. Which parent will prevail?

Assuming that Monaco is the setting for an eventual decision on custody, how might a judge there rule on this long-running fight? This, of course, is the dramatic heart of the matter and may be the most complicated question yet.

The court will likely examine a host of factors, aiming for a result that puts children first. While Monaco would apply its own custody law to the case, its decision-making could include hearing from a parade of experts: immigration experts, experts on attachment, and on schools.

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Here is where Rutherford might argue that the children belong in the U.S. because they are citizens and deserve a closer connection to its culture. Giersch can counter, saying that the children are acclimated to Monaco and shouldn’t be forced to move. And as the children age, they may get a chance to participate in these decisions, if Monaco laws allow.

In general, “the longer the amount of time [they live in one place], the more likely the child will object to returning” from a home country, says Kucinski. “And the older the child, the more likely his or her views will be solicited.”

As years pass, and courts take their time to rule, a parent left behind, like Rutherford, can stand at a legal disadvantage, according to James McLaren. This dispute, in its sixth year and likely to drag on, stands as an object lesson in the high cost of heading to court. Says McLaren: “I always tell people: Think long and hard before a custody fight. You don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve never met a happy litigant – and that’s true even when they win.”

Kelly Loses Her Kids: Angry Judge Orders Rutherford’s Children be Returned to Monaco Immediately


August 11, 2015

Source: People.com by MICHELE CORRISTON AND AURELIE CORINTHIOS

Kelly Rutherford‘s children are on their way back to Monaco with their paternal grandmother after a New York Supreme Court judge upheld the custody order Tuesday.

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The actress appeared in court this morning to face the consequences of refusing to send her children back to Monaco on Friday.

Wearing a crisp white shirt and pants and a cream cardigan wrapped across her shoulders, Rutherford looked somber as she entered the courtroom alone – she initially did not bring her children, a move that angered the judge on the case.

Rutherford was required to appear in court with son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, after a New York Supreme Court judge signed a writ of habeas corpus on Monday filed by Rutherford’s ex-husband Daniel Giersch.

At the start of the hearing, Rutherford’s lawyer told Judge Ellen Frances Gesmer that the children are “close by, maybe 10 minutes away,” to protect them from the “media circus” outside the courthouse. The children were brought in through a side entrance just before noon.

Just half an hour before, Giersch’s mother – who was in attendance, according to Giersch’s lawyers, so she she could look after the children during the hearing – had walked out of the courtroom smiling.

Gesmer said she did not “look kindly upon” Rutherford’s failure to comply with the order requiring the children’s presence. When Rutherford tried to address the judge directly, Gesmer shut her down.

Giersch’s team asked to excuse the press from the proceedings, and Gesmer agreed, banning media from the courtroom after saying they will begin by assessing the jurisdictional issues at play.

Ultimately, Helena and Hermes were once more ordered to say goodbye to their mother in the courthouse and left with their grandmother en route to Monaco. A member of Giersch’s legal team tells PEOPLE the children were heard speaking in their dual tongues of English and French as they reunited with their grandmother.

Rutherford, 46, and Giersch, 41, have been caught up in a bitter custody battle since she filed for divorce in 2008. A California judge ordered the children to live with their father in Monaco temporarily in 2012 because his visa had been revoked, and they spend summers with their mother in New York.

The actress has been fighting to move them back to the United States but hit two roadblocks this summer when both California and New York family courts ruled they no longer have jurisdiction over the case. Rutherford disobeyed a Monaco court order when she announced Friday that she was not flying Hermes and Helena back to Europe.

“No state in this country is currently protecting my children. It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away,” she said in a statement.

Following her refusal to return the children, German businessman Giersch accused her of kidnapping them and filed the writ of habeas corpus. “Anyone associating themselves with Kelly and her abduction is violating the law,” his lawyer Fahi Takesh Hallin said in a statement Monday.

Now Rutherford could find herself with less access to her son and daughter.

“I would be surprised if she was allowed to take the children out of Monaco again without some level of security,” Michael Stutman, head of the family group at Mishcon de Reya New York, told PEOPLE. “Maybe she won’t be able to travel with the children except one at a time, always having to leave a kid behind.”

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Kelly Rutherford and Kids Must Appear Before a Judge as Ex Accuses Her of Child Abduction


August 11, 2015

Source: www.people.com

Kelly Rutherford is facing the consequences of refusing to send her kids back to Monaco on Friday.

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A New York Supreme Court judge has signed a writ of habeas corpus filed by the Gossip Girl star’s ex-husband Daniel Giersch, and she must appear in court with son Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, on Tuesday, sources tell PEOPLE.

“The writ of habeas corpus is a quick way to get the U.S. court to recognize the Monaco court order and to enforce it,” Michael Stutman, head of the family group at Mishcon de Reya New York, tells PEOPLE. “My guess is that Mr. Giersch’s papers in support of his petition were very compelling, and the odds are these kids are going back to Monaco tomorrow night.”

Rutherford, 46, and Giersch, 41, have been caught up in a bitter custody battle since she filed for divorce in 2008. A California judge ordered the children to live with their father in Monaco temporarily in 2012 because his visa had been revoked, and they spend summers with their mother in New York. The actress has been trying to move them back to the United States but hit two roadblocks this summer when both California and New Yorkfamily courts ruled they no longer have jurisdiction over the case. Per a Monaco court order, Rutherford was supposed to fly Hermes and Helena back to Europe on Thursday. Instead, she announced Friday that she’skeeping the kids.

“No state in this country is currently protecting my children. It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away,” she said in a statement. “Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country.”

It’s a risky tactic. “She’s certainly playing with fire, Stutman says. “And she’s essentially handing the children over to their father on a silver platter.”

Giersch, a German businessman, accused her of kidnapping. “Anyone associating themselves with Kelly and her abduction is violating the law,” his lawyer Fahi Takesh Hallin said in a statement Monday.

The United States and Monaco are signatories to the Hague Convention, an international agreement to protect the best interests of children. That means American judges have to respect Monaco’s arrangement, says Nancy Chemtob, a New York family and divorce attorney at Chemtob Moss & Forman in N.Y.C.

“She’s saying that, ‘Well, California said no, and New York said no, so there really is no judge overseeing my children in the United States, so therefore I don’t have to do anything because I’m not going to compelled to listen to a court in Monaco.’ And that’s not the way it works. Under the Hague Convention, she has to listen to the court and comply with court orders,” Chemtob tells PEOPLE. “I think she could lose custody for failing to comply with the court’s order.”

Rutherford has also been pleading for help from the government, testifying before Congress and garnering more than 100,000 signatures on a White House petition.

“We are aware of recent media reports of this case. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services,” a State Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

So what will happen in court Tuesday? If she does not appear before the judge, a warrant could be issued for her arrest, Chemtob says, and she may be held in contempt of the court.

And even if she does bring the children to be transported back to Monaco, she could find herself with less access to her son and daughter.

“I would be surprised if she was allowed to take the children out of Monaco again without some level of security,” Stutman says. “What we do here, and I suspect they do there, is when someone is at risk of not returning the children, you make them post a bond or something of huge value to them, which they don’t get back until they return the kids, whether that’s money, whether that’s a passport. Maybe she won’t be able to travel with the children except one at a time, always having to leave a kid behind.”

“She’s really opening herself up to some pretty miserable consequences,” he adds. “Nobody likes someone who decides to take the law into their own hands.”

Attorney Robert Wallack represented Rutherford in federal court last year but is no longer on her legal team. Though he believes the original 2012 custody arrangement was flawed and that Rutherford deserves her day in court in New York, he calls her latest decision “an act of desperation.” He says he is worried it will do her more harm than good in Monaco, where there is a hearing set for Sept. 3.

“My fear for Kelly would be if they end up litigating in Monaco, and if Monaco keeps and case and Monaco decides custody or decides some type of visitation regime, that the courts there don’t allow the kids to leave in the future because there’s a concern about whether Kelly will return them or not,” he tells PEOPLE. “My concern is that she ends up with even less than she has now, if the current visitation and custody regime is upheld, that in the future she is not allowed to have them over here for these extended vacations, and that would be terrible.”

Although Rutherford disobeyed Monaco’s court order, her side counters that Giersch has not been complying with the 2012 one, which required him to re-apply for a visa (he hasn’t) and ultimately envisioned the family living in America together.

“If and when Daniel can return to the U.S., they will continue to share equal parenting time in the U.S.,” a 2013 statement of decision from the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles reads.

Plus, Rutherford was granted temporary sole custody in May by an L.A. judge after accusing Giersch of refusing to let her see the kids during a planned visit unless she turned over her U.S. passports. His objection to that emergency order is what set off the jurisdictional dispute this summer.

“Daniel is no angel, and he has on several occasions violated the original California court order by not re-applying for the visa and by, instead of lodging the California order in Monaco and obtaining a mirror order, he’s gone and applied for custody there and gotten a grant of custody there. So he’s disobeyed the California orders himself,” Wallack explains. “The courts will usually say two wrongs don’t make a right, and they don’t forgive someone for disobeying an order just because the other party has disobeyed orders himself.

“You’re certainly in better standing if you have clean hands, so the fact that Daniel has disobeyed orders I think helps Kelly, but it doesn’t erase what she’s done and what she’s doing. The last thing the courts want is a situation where either no one’s obeying any orders or you’ve got both parties picking and choosing which orders they want to abide by.”

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Kelly Rutherford Refuses To Return Kids To Daniel Giersch In Monaco Amid Custody Battle


August 10, 2015

Source: hngn.com

Despite a recent ruling, Kelly Rutherford is refusing to send her children back to Monaco to live with their father and her ex-husband, German businessman Daniel Giersch.

Kelly Rutherford Children

Kelly Rutherford has refused to return her children to live with their father in Monaco. The “Gossip Girl” actress is in a battle with her ex-husband Daniel Giersch over the custody of their 8-year-old son Hermes and 6-year-old daughter Helena, according to Entertainment Tonight.

The kids were ordered to live with their father in Monaco three years ago. Rutherford recently won the legal right to take her children back to the U.S. for the summer, provided that the kids are returned to the father in Monaco at the end of the appointed stay.

“These past three years waiting for my children to come home have been very difficult. My children were forced to leave the United States in 2012 when they were only 2 and 5 years old,” Rutherford, 46, said. “In May, a judge in California gave me sole custody and brought them home. I am immensely grateful and overjoyed to have them back. Since May, however, the court proceedings have been confusing.”

“My ex-husband recently filed for sole custody in Monaco after causing my children to be declared ‘habitual residents’ there, even though he agreed with California in 2012 that the children’s time in France and Monaco would be temporary, and that the children would retain exclusive citizenship and residency in the United States,” she added, US Weekly reported. “I trusted my ex-husband’s agreement, and cannot now send them away in light of the legal actions taken in Monaco in violation of that agreement by my ex-husband.”

Rutherford argued that since 2 U.S. courts, one in New York and another in California, have said they do not have jurisdiction in her custody battle, it means that no state in the U.S. currently requires her to send her kids away. “Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country, she said, according to People.

Rutherford and Giersch split in 2010 after four years of marriage and have been battling for custody ever since.

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Kelly Rutherford Loses Bid to Fight for Custody of Kids in California


June 24, 2015

Source: US Magazine

Heartbreaking news for Kelly Rutherford. The Gossip Girl actress officially lost her bid to fight for full custody of her two young children in California on Thursday, July 23. 

kelly-rutherford Custody battle

Rutherford’s attorney David J. Glass tells Us Weekly that a judge ruled that Rutherford no longer has the right to fight for custody of her son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, in the state of California. A judge in Monaco, where Rutherford’s ex-husband Daniel Giersch lives, had given him full custody over their children.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Ruling,” Glass told Us. “Although the Court agreed with our analysis of the law, and in fact agreed with our position that citizens can have more than residence for jurisdictional purposes, the Court ultimately did not agree with us on the facts.”

Kelly Rutherford Children

Rutherford and Giersch, a German businessman, have been in an ugly custody battle over their two children for the last six years. (Rutherford filed for divorce in 2008, while she was pregnant with their daughter). Both children regularly reside with Giersch in Monaco, and it was decided in December 2013 that he no longer had to pay for his children to visit the States and their mother.

The news is bittersweet, as both Hermes and Helena are temporarily in NYC with Rutherford, 46, for the summer after the actress was granted temporary sole custody in May by a California judge.

“I know it’s not right. Parents know — everyone knows it’s not right,” Rutherford said on Good Morning America back in April. “I can sit here and tell you how often I cry. I can tell you how it feels to leave my kids in a foreign country and seeing them after not seeing them for weeks on end. Not being able to bring them from school and pick them up from school, dress them, hug them, smell them.”

The actress filed for bankruptcy in 2013, claiming $2 million in debt, including $1.5 million in legal fees and travel fees to see her children.

Her very public plight has gained widespread attention, including the support of some bold-faced names, including former costars Ed Westwick and Matthew Settle, and even Kim Kardashian. In May, the stars and tens and thousands of others signed a White House petition to bring Rutherford’s kids back to her.

“My children, not only were they taken away, but they were sent to a foreign country,” she continued in the GMA interview. “I don’t even know how you explain to someone what it feels like.”

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Custody Battle continues – Rutherford gets children for the summer


June 23, 2015

Source: Belfast telegraph

Kelly Rutherford has won a small victory in her ongoing custody battle with her ex-husband.

Kelly Rutherford

The Gossip Girl actress has been in a six-year-battle with ex-husband Daniel Giersch over the custody of their two children. Eight-year-old Hermés and Helena, six, currently live in Monaco with their dad after his US visa was revoked in 2012. While the bigger battle over where the children should live permanently rages on, 46-year-old Kelly has managed to secure the summer with them in the States.

“I am pleased with the outcome and that the children will be coming to the U.S. for a part of their summer vacation,” she said in a statement to People magazine. “I am reassured by the Monaco process and the judge and although I still maintain my legal objections about Monaco hearing the case, [my] serenity is restored.”

Last month Kelly was left disappointed when a ruling given by a Californian judge for temporary custody in her favour was halted because the United States does not hold jurisdiction over the case. Instead Monaco has full command over what happens to her offspring, which led to Monday’s hearing regarding their home for the summer.

While Daniel’s lawyer previously claimed his client had no problem with sending the children to America for their vacation like he had done since their joint custody plan was outlined in 2012, Kelly had reservations about it.

“I am concerned that he will try to further prevent me from spending time with them,” she said in a previous statement.

The former couple were both in court in Monaco for the ruling on Monday, but will face each other again in a Los Angeles court on July 9.

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Kelly Rutherford granted temporary sole custody of her two children


May 26, 2015

Source: CNN

Actress Kelly Rutherford, who played Lily van der Woodsen on “Gossip Girl,” has been granted temporary sole custody of her two children in a protracted dispute that sparked an online petition.

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Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas ruled that son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 5, be brought back to the United States from Monaco, where they have been living with their father, Daniel Giersch.

“We are pleased that the Los Angeles Superior Court acted swiftly on Friday, May 22nd to confirm its continuing jurisdiction over the custody matter and the parties’ two children,” Rutherford’s attorney, David Glass, said in an email. “We remain hopeful that Mr. Giersch, after reviewing the Orders, will cooperate fully and assist us in peacefully transferring the children to Kelly’s custody.”

The couple married in August 2006, separated in December 2008 and was divorced in July 2010.

According to Rutherford’s attorneys, she recently traveled to see her children in France but was denied access by Giersch at this last minute.

He claimed she was refusing to turn over the children’s passports. Rutherford argued that she was willing to have a mutually agreed party hold them but did not want to turn the documents over to a designee of Giersch’s choice.

The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for June 15.

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California Judge Orders Immediate Return of Kelly Rutherford’s Children


May 24, 2015

Source: examiner.com

“On May 22, 2015, California Family Court Judge, Mark Juhas, ruled that Kelly Rutherford‘s children, Hermes and Helena are to be returned immediately to the United States. Kelly Rutherford has been granted sole legal and physical custody pending further order of the court.” – Chelsea Storey, Law Office of Chelsea Storey

Kelly Rutherford Abducted

In 2009, actress Kelly Rutherford entered the Family Court system naively believing that the best interest of her two American children would be served by presiding Judge Teresa A. Beaudet. In an unprecedented move labeled by legal analyst Dan Abrams as “the worst custody decision ever,” these young children, Hermes and Helena, were ordered to live with their father, Daniel Giersch in France. This six-year custody battle has left Kelly bankrupt on both an emotional and financial level.

Daniel Giersch recently filed for custody in Monaco asking the court to retain jurisdiction of the case and was successful in his quest when Monaco declared the children “habitual residents” and restricted Kelly’s access to the children significantly. This week, Daniel denied Kelly’s parenting time while refusing to acknowledge the California court order that reads, “The Court intends that each child’s habitual residence will remain the United States and that any foreign travel or stays in other countries will be temporary in nature, and not result in a change of either child’s habitual residence, or of jurisdiction to modify custody and visitation orders, or issue new custody and visitation orders.”

Kelly Rutherford Children

In a riveting turn of events, Kelly’s legal team consisting of Wendy Murphy, David Glass and Chelsea Storey, filed an ex parte hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday where Judge Mark Juhas ordered that Hermes and Helena are to be returned to the United States immediately. This ruling follows an overwhelming outpouring of celebrity support which came as a result of a petition targeting and appealing to President Barack Obama.

Kelly currently remains in Monaco awaiting a reversal in the order declaring the children as habitual residents and furthermore, enforcing the order from the California courts. Never before has a custody case garnered international media attention to this degree. I think it’s safe to say that Americans will be on pins and needles awaiting the return of these two American children, Hermes and Helena.

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