Actress Kelly Rutherford gave up her residential ties to California, and a court in this state has no power to make custody decisions regarding her two children, a Los Angeles judge ruled Thursday.
“The evidence before this court demonstrates that while (Rutherford) maintains some connections to California, she does not maintain sufficient ties to establish jurisdictional residence,” Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas wrote in a 15-page opinion released today.
The ruling was a victory for Rutherford’s ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, who lives with their children in Monaco.
Rutherford’s lawyer, David Glass, maintained that the former “Melrose Place” and “Gossip Girl” star owned a “functioning residence” in California and comes here for work as well as medical and dental needs. He said it was possible for someone to have a valid residence in more than one state.
Juhas found that while someone can have legal residence in more than one state, the condominium where Rutherford said she stayed while in California is owned by the 46-year-old actress’ parents and contains none of her clothing, furniture or other items showing it was her exclusive home.
Her parents were free to rent out the condo when their daughter was not present, Juhas said.
“The court realizes that (Rutherford) may be in a difficult place, but California does not have jurisdiction,” Juhas wrote.
Juhas heard testimony earlier this month from both Rutherford and Giersch. In a previous order, the judge gave the actress temporary custody to bring her children to California. The decision was in contrast to a ruling in 2013 by Judge Teresa Beaudet, who said the children could remain overseas with Giersch.
But Judas put his earlier order on hold after Hirsch’s lawyers demonstrated to another judge that a court in Monaco, where Giersch has been living with their 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, also is handling custody issues. Giersch’s lawyers then filed a motion challenging any continuing jurisdiction by the California courts, resulting in this month’s hearing.
Juhas said the Monaco judge was waiting to see how he rules before proceeding with any issues in that European nation.
Giersch’s lawyers argued Rutherford could have only one legal residence and that she has spent most of her time in New York in the last three years. She sold her West Hollywood home in March 2013, they said.
Judas said the court normally retains jurisdiction over the children in custody cases unless both parents sever ties to California.
Rutherford’s attorneys said she has work in New York and California, but that she additionally has business ties here, receives her medical care in California and visits her family and friends in the Southland.
Rutherford said she lived most of the time in New York so that she could have shorter, less expensive flights to Monaco to visit her children.
Rutherford and Giersch married in 2006 and he filed for divorce in Los Angeles two years later. The divorce was finalized in July 2010.
—City News Service