August 9, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Most people who behave so outrageously at least have the good sense to try to keep it quiet. Not Kelly Rutherford. No, those of us who follow the often bizarre news out of family courts are treated to an almost daily update on what Kelly Rutherford is doing. She might not have had much of a television career, but she sure learned how to never be out of range of a camera.
Did she take her kids to the zoo? There they are posing for the cameras in People Magazine or some other rag. Did they have lunch? Yes, they did! And we can learn about every breathless minute of it in Hollywood Life or TMZ.
When the kids aren’t with her, Rutherford tirelessly pitches her case. There she is weeping on one talk show or another. And there’s her latest lawyer filing her latest frivolous claim in court.
Rutherford’s self-promotion is pretty much non-stop. It seems the sun never sets without another appearance by Kelly Rutherford somewhere, relentlessly demanding our attention, and hoping for our sympathy.
It’s not working, and her latest publicity stunt is sure to make things worse for her — far worse. As the world knows, Rutherford has had her kids with her this summer. That’s part of the shared custody order issued by a California court two years ago that places the children with their father, Daniel Giersch most of the time and with Rutherford during the summer.
And, as the world also knows (whether it wants to or not), this past Friday was the day when she was supposed to send the kids back to Monaco where Giersch lives. But, as this article tells us, she didn’t do it (People, 8/7/15). Given her past outrageous behavior, this latest decision to flout a court order won’t end well for her. My personal feeling is that a stint behind bars might be the only thing that could drive home the message that she needs to conform her behavior to reasonable standards.
I can’t begin to recount all the many ways Rutherford has abused her children, their father and the court system, but here’s a portion of the Superior Court’s recounting of facts in the case that should make it clear.
Rutherford began by refusing to allow Giersch to be at the hospital when she gave birth to their second child. She then refused to put his name on the birth certificate. Later, she promised the Superior Court she would do so but reneged on her promise. Ordered by the court to amend the birth certificate, she refused to do that as well.
Amid a dozen motions for show-cause orders, all aimed at getting Giersch out of their children’s lives completely and permanently, her lawyer, with Rutherford’s knowledge, threatened to tell the State Department that Giersch is an illegal arms dealer and thereby have his visa to remain in the United States revoked. The price of refraining from doing so was Giersch’s agreement to never see his children again. Giersch refused and apparently, the lawyer made good on his threat.
The State Department duly revoked Giersch’s visa meaning that he can’t set foot in this country. Apparently, Rutherford promised the court to withdraw the complaint against Giersch that was entirely fabricated, but, like so many of her other promises, she reneged on that one too.
The judge’s Statement of Decision is littered with Rutherford’s wrongdoing, but suffice it to say that it makes abundantly clear her intention to do whatever she deems necessary to keep their children from ever seeing their father. Lying and ignoring court orders are part of that effort.
Unfortunately for Rutherford, the court noticed and was none too happy about her behavior. So it gave primary custody to Giersch who now lives in Monaco. Rutherford’s shenanigans have resulted in the exact opposite of what she wanted. Now, if she wants to see her children outside of the summer months, she has to travel abroad. Giersch pays the bill, but she has to do the traveling.
Did she learn a lesson from that? Did she learn that relentless efforts to destroy the children’s relationship with their father won’t be smiled on by the court? No, she only learned to redouble those efforts. And that of course meant involving the entertainment news media at every possible opportunity.
It also meant embarking on a strategy of litigation that would have embarrassed Don Quixote. Having lost at every phase of the custody case and seeing her children live thousands of miles away from her, Rutherford abandoned family court for federal court. Some lawyer apparently convinced her that her children have a constitutional right to live in this country irrespective of the orders of a family court or the whereabouts of their father. Whoever did so did nothing more than steal money from his/her client. The claim was unceremoniously dumped by the federal court in which it was filed.
So, having failed in every court and having been told to litigate her claims in Monaco if she’s so inclined, Rutherford has taken the last step. She’s kept the kids here, refusing to return them to their father. And apparently she intends for that to be permanent. Yes, there’s a court order in place and yes she’s in contempt of it, but she doesn’t seem to care. As always, she’s doing what she wants regardless of everything else.
Now, Rutherford’s gotten some really bad legal advice in her case so far. I can only hope that this latest violation of a court order didn’t come on the advice of counsel, but it may have.
The Gossip Girl star did not fly her two children to Monaco on Thursday as stipulated by her court-ordered arrangement with ex-husband Daniel Giersch, a German businessman — and she announced Friday that she doesn’t plan to do so…
The fact that neither [California nor New York] is claiming jurisdiction, she says, "means no state in this country is currently protecting my children. It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away. Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country."
See what I mean? She’s been a victim of enough legal malpractice without adding more. The simple fact is that there is an order in place detailing when the children are to be with her and when with Giersch. Every court retains jurisdiction to enforce its own orders. Rutherford is in violation of the existing order. The fact that the U.S. courts refuse to rule on future allegations, deferring to the courts of Monaco, doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t enforce their own existing orders.
Look for Rutherford to learn that point of law very soon.
Now is the time for the California Superior court to hold Rutherford in contempt. She’s stated publicly that she’s flouting the law intentionally. This case has gone on for years and at every step of the way, Rutherford has abused her children’s relationship with their father. She continues to do so. She needs to spend 30 days behind bars. And if that doesn’t work she needs to be limited to supervised visitation with the children.
We see this all too frequently. One parent ignores court orders, alienates the child and generally does as he/she pleases. Courts frown and grumble but do nothing, and soon enough, the abusive parent does something truly damaging to the kids, the other parent or themselves. The California Superior Court has been far too lenient with Rutherford. If this latest episode doesn’t convince the judge that something needs to change, nothing will.
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