In 2009, actress Kelly Rutherford divorced Daniel Giersch. According to news reports, the two have been battling over the custody of their two young children ever since. Last August, in what has been described as a shocking development, a judge in California ruled that Rutherford’s children could remain in Europe with their father, a German businessman, following a summer vacation there. Essentially, the court found that it would be in the children’s best interest to relocate them, ages five and three, until their father was able to restore his visa, so that both parents would have an opportunity to spend time with the kids. Child custody battles can erupt in any divorcing family situation. The best course of action is to consult with a local San Diego Family Law attorney who can help to protect your family’s rights.
The judge’s order was partly based on the fact that Giersch’s visa to remain in the United States had been revoked. Under this court-ordered custody arrangement, both parents have an opportunity to see their kids on a regular basis. The children are to remain in Monaco with the dad, while their mom is required to fly to Europe in order to spend time with her children. Up until the moment of the judge’s decision, the children were living with Rutherford. In another article, Rutherford mentions that she has flown to Europe 40 times to see her children.
In California, parents who decide to separate and divorce should have a plan for determining how their children will be cared for and where they will live or spend time. The ideal situation is one in which both parents agree to a “parenting plan.” A parenting plan is also known as a “custody and visitation agreement” that sets forth (in writing) the couples’ agreement about: 1) time-share: a specific schedule for when the children will be with each parent; and 2) decision-making: a description of how the parents will render decisions about the education, health, and welfare of their kids.
Parents who agree up front to a satisfactory parenting plan not only save themselves a great deal of time, money and emotional anguish, but the children also benefit from knowing early on what to expect from the new living arrangements. Unfortunately for someone like Rutherford, if the parents cannot agree and one of them lives far away, in another state or country, the court will have to step in to come up with a plan that it deems is in the best interest of the children.
In another development, Rutherford’s close friend, Caroline Rina, has recently started an online petition asking California lawmakers to bring Rutherford’s children home to the United States. Rutherford, herself, has vowed to “never stop fighting for my children.” If the efforts with the legislature prove futile, the actress will have to wait until September for the next scheduled child custody court hearing. One of the ways to try to avoid the difficulties the parents are facing in this case is to be sure to hire a local, dedicated and experienced Family Law attorney who can anticipate the intricacies of the process and the way the courts may view each child custody request.
If you are a parent with questions about child custody concerns, you are encouraged to contact Doppelt & Forney. Mr. Doppelt is an experienced and dedicated family law attorney, representing parents for more than 20 years in Southern California. Doppelt & Forney serves clients in San Diego, Linda Vista, Encinitas, Scripps Ranch, and throughout Southern California. For a free consultation with a devoted and experienced family lawyer, contact Doppelt & Forney through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
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