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Final ruling shows why choices during custody cases are crucial

International custody cases almost always pose a problem because it is near impossible to ensure that both parents have regular access to the children. In most situations, one parent will have primary residential custody even if there is a joint legal custody order, and the nonresidential parent will have extended parenting time during holidays and school vacations. However, even these situations are less than ideal, and some parents may think about taking matters into their own hands. The final chapter in the Kelly Rutherford and Daniel Giersch custody battle shows why this is never a good idea.

Earlier this year, Rutherford brought her children back to the United States from their home in Monaco so they could have their summer vacation with her, per the standing court order. However, when it was time for the children to be returned to their father, Rutherford refused. At the time, both the California and New York courts had decided that neither had jurisdiction over the case, and Rutherford tried to say that this meant she could also not be forced to return the children to Monaco.

The Monaco courts ended up taking jurisdiction, awarding custody to Giersch and ordering the children to be returned to the country. However, Rutherford again went against the court order and did not bring the children with her to a mandatory court appearance where they were to be returned to their father.

While the children did eventually return to Monaco, those two decisions appear to have directly influenced the Monaco court's ruling that Rutherford can no longer travel with the children. Rutherford will still have some decision-making power as far as the children's education and upbringing but must have visitation with them in either France or Monaco. Rutherford's last appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals was also rejected.

Source: Newsday, "Kelly Rutherford’s appeal to win back child custody denied," Frank Lovece, Dec. 18, 2015

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