Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Rutherford suffers loss in custody case

California and New York are on opposite sides of the country, but divorced parents in both places are likely paying attention to the recent developments in Kelly Rutherford's custody dispute. The former "Gossip Girl" star was dealt a blow when a judge ruled that the state of California no longer has jurisdiction over the grueling custody battle that Rutherford is fighting with her ex-husband.

Rutherford's ex-husband lost his U.S. visa in 2012, and the couple's children have lived with him in Monaco since 2013. Rutherford has been fighting to have the children returned to her since then. Up until now, the California court system has had jurisdiction over the case. However, the Los Angeles judge stated that the fact that the children haven't lived in California in two years is a contributing factor to the court deciding that the state no longer had jurisdiction and could not make decisions in this case. A legal analyst stated that there is no precedent for a case like this, though Rutherford may be able to appeal the ruling.

Custody cases, particularly those involving international issues, can quickly become complicated. At stake are not only domestic laws that seek to protect the best interests of the child, but the laws in other nations. In some cases, it can be difficult to establish jurisdiction, particularly if there is no agreement between the two nations.

A parent who is in a child custody dispute may benefit from meeting with an experienced family law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review the client's case and situation and make recommendations on how to proceed. If one of the parents is a citizen of another country, the attorney may be able to review pertinent case law and provide guidance in managing the case.

Source: ABC News, "Judge Rules Kelly Rutherford's Custody Battle Can't Continue in California," Michael Rothman and Kelley Messer, July 23, 2015

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