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International child custody case may be complex and unending

Television sitcom actress Kelly Rutherford has been embroiled in an international custody dispute for the past several years. It started in 2008 when Rutherford, while pregnant with the couple’s daughter and second child, filed for divorce. Despite a child custody agreement hammered out between the parties in April 2010, she obtained a restraining order against the father just a month later. Whether in Georgia or another jurisdiction, a custody dispute spanning the borders of foreign countries can be a most difficult and frustrating challenge for both parents.

Rutherford raised the stakes in 2012 by initiating proceedings that led to the revocation of the father’s visa, based on alleged illegal business activities. He was deported out of the country. However, that move turned out to be ill-considered, because a California state court judge enforced the agreement negotiated in 2010, requiring the children to live with the father half of the time in a foreign country.

Rutherford has tried to strike down the 50-50 child custody agreement, but to no avail. The only way that a court-approved settlement can be modified is upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances requiring changed provisions. Apparently, Rutherford has not met her burden of showing changed circumstances. She also fashioned a novel argument that the immigration laws are being violated by enforcement of the 50-50 agreement, resulting in the illegal deportation of her children. All of her efforts have been rejected by the courts.

The real issue, however, according to some commentators, is that she has tried to obstruct the father and children from continuing a healthy relationship. If that is the case, it would put her claims in an unsympathetic light to virtually all judges and family law counselors. In Georgia and all other jurisdictions, where there is no issue of abuse, a parent who attempts to keep the children away from the other parent is not favored for custody. Thus, a parent will do much better by demonstrating a cooperative effort to instill a caring and loving environment for the children.

Source:, "Kelly Rutherford's Child Custody Sage Continues", Renee Jackson, Aug. 14, 2014

Source:, "Kelly Rutherford's Child Custody Sage Continues", Renee Jackson, Aug. 14, 2014

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