A judge in Los Angeles ruled on July 23 that the state of California has no jurisdiction over the custody dispute that actress Kelly Rutherford has been involved in since 2012. Rutherford and the father of her children had joint custody until visa problems left him unable to enter the country, at which point the court decided the children needed to stay with him in Monaco.
Court documents show that while the judge did not give Monaco the jurisdiction over the custody dispute, the judge did feel that the children had no real connection to California, with only a one-week visit in over two years. This was the reason for the court's jurisdictional decision.
In 2012, when Rutherford's ex-husband lost his U.S. visa, a California judge ruled that the children should stay with him in Europe, granting the father physical custody, so that they would maintain only one main residence. The 46-year-old Rutherford had been traveling to Europe to see her children since then. In April of 2015, Rutherford was denied her attempt to bring the children back to the United States by a federal court in New York.
A legal analyst noted that Rutherford's situation is complicated, as it appears that no court in the U.S. has jurisdiction over the case and there is no precedent to guide those involved. According to her lawyer, Rutherford has both family and business ties in California, but because of her need to travel to visit them in Europe, she had been living in New York. A parent who is involved in a similar international child custody dispute may want to obtain the guidance of a family law attorney.