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Kidnap fears prompt court order in celebrity custody dispute

Massachusetts residents may recognize the actress Kelly Rutherford from her appearances on popular television shows including 'Gossip Girl" and 'Melrose Place," and they may also have learned from media reports that she has been involved in a contentious child custody dispute with her ex-husband. The 46-year-old actress divorced her husband in 2008 after two years of marriage, but the legal wrangling over custody of the couple's two children has continued on for several years.

The child custody dispute was focused on concerns that Rutherford's ex-husband would attempt to kidnap the 8-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, but a 2013 court order allowed the children to spend time overseas with their father. However, Rutherford's attorneys were called into action once again on May 22 when reports emerged that a petition to change the citizenship of the two children had been made in a Monaco court.

After hearing about the Monaco petition, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered that the children be returned to the United States. Rutherford's ex-husband must return with the children before a hearing that has been scheduled for June 15. The judge made the order based on the Monaco petition and evidence that Rutherford's ex-husband has violated the terms of the 2013 custody order on several occasions.

Child custody disputes can place a great deal of emotional strain on the parents involved and their children, and animosities can linger on for years when these matters are not resolved in an amicable manner. A family law attorney with experience in these matters may understand that parents can often become entrenched in their positions when the welfare of their children is at stake, but legal counsel may also realize that finding common ground through mediation or otherwise could be a necessary first step to minimize the amount of conflict that children are exposed to.

Source: CBS News, "Judge orders children returned to Kelly Rutherford in custody fight", May 26, 2015

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