Kelly Rutherford must bring her child custody case to a different family law court after Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas ruled on Thursday July 23, 2015 that the state of California did not have jurisdiction over what happens with Kelly Rutherford’s children.
Rutherford was fighting for custody of her two children, daughter Helena, 6, and son Hermes, 8, in the state of California. The child custody battle began shortly after Rutherford filed for divorce from then husband Daniel Giersch in 2008 while she was pregnant with Helena.
A judge in Monaco, where Giersch lives, granted him full custody over their children, and Rutherford has been fighting for custody ever since. For nearly 6 years Rutherford has petitioned family law courts to bring her children back to the United States.
She was forced to file bankruptcy in 2013 citing $2 million in debt, $1.5 million in legal fees and exorbitant travel fees to see her children.
Rutherford said in a GMA interview, “My children, not only were they taken away, but they were sent to a foreign country. I don’t even know how you explain to someone what it feels like.”
In Rutherford’s latest court appearance, she asked Judge Mark Juhas to rule she still has a “significant connection” to California. Rutherford has spent the majority of her time in New York City and some time in California. She claims spending time in New York allowed for shorter, less expensive flights to Europe to see her kids.
Judge Juhas wrote in his court decision, “Given the fact that the children have only spent approximately one week in California in over two years, if these children have any connection to California, it is tenuous at best.”
He continued, “The Court does not believe that it is obligated to relinquish jurisdiction to Monaco, only that it acknowledges that it no longer has jurisdiction over the children.”
Rutherford’s lawyer, David Glass, responded to the Court’s decision by saying, “We are extremely disappointed. This court set up the current situation whereby my client was forced to live bi-coastally, but now, the court appears to be holding it against her.”
Rutherford may now be forced to continue her child custody battle in Monaco.