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. Daniel is currently denying 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."
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. The judge also ruled that the California order requiring the children to move to France in 2012 was meant to be temporary, and that it was improper for the children's father to establish residency for the children in Monaco.
Additionally, as the court documents state, the California court found that the father did not meet his obligation to seek a new visa despite the passage of over two years time. Yesterday's order was issued one day after Ms. Rutherford arrived in Monaco for a week-long visit with her children, but when she got to their school to pick them up, they were not there. The children's father told Kelly she could not see them unless she gave him or his associate the children's U.S. passports. The California judge's order forbids the release of the children's passports.
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.