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Actress Kelly Rutherford asks U.S. to take custody of her kids

Massachusetts residents may be interested to learn that "Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford has asked a federal court to grant the U.S. government custody of her two young children in a last-minute bid to keep them from returning to France to live with their father. The children, ages 5 and 7, are currently visiting her in New York.

In 2012, Rutherford's ex-husband, who is a German citizen, was denied re-entry to the United States after a stay overseas with the couple's children. It is unclear exactly what he was accused of, but the alleged crime was serious enough to get him immediately banned from the country.

In a surprising ruling, a California family court judge decided that the American-born children should also be exiled and return to live in France in the custody of their father. Rutherford was not accused of any crimes, and the judge stated she was an excellent parent. However, he deemed it better for the children to remain with their father. In 2013, Rutherford filed for bankruptcy after spending millions of dollars in legal fees trying to get her children back to their home country. She has also been forced to pay thousands of dollars to repeatedly travel to France. Rutherford's new lawyer has taken the case pro bono. She said her children's constitutional rights were violated when they were forced from the United States, and the federal government should now step in to resolve the matter.

Child custody orders dealing with relocation can be complex and emotionally draining. However, a family law attorney could help negotiations go more smoothly. Any Massachusetts parent involved in such a matter may wish to speak with a lawyer regarding their custody rights.

Source: ABC News, "Time for State Department to Help Bring Actress Kelly Rutherford's American Kids Home," Dan Abrams, March 30, 2015

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