Kelly Rutherford Granted Sole Custody of Her Children After Long International Legal Battle

Kelly Rutherford has finally been granted sole legal and physical custody of her two children.

A judge has ordered that they immediately be returned to the United States from Monaco, where they have been living with their father Daniel Giersch since 2012.

In a court order filed Friday (May 22, 2015), the judge ordered that their two children Hermes, 8, and Helena, 5, be returned to Los Angeles safely and promptly, and that the Gossip Girl star would remain in possession of their passports.

The judge concluded that their move to Monaco was meant to be temporary, and it was improper for Giersch, a German businessman, to establish their residency in Monaco.

Rutherford’s lawyer Wendy Murphy told People,

We are ecstatic, and hopeful that Monaco will respect the California court’s ruling and send the children home. It has long been our position that Monaco has no jurisdiction because Hermes and Helena, as American citizens, have an absolute right to live in their own country. If the citizenship shoe were on the other foot and these children were citizens of Monaco, I have no doubt the United States would respect their right to reside in Monaco.

Monaco officials know that sending the children back to America is the right thing to do. I’m looking forward to the happy reunion of the children not only with their mother, but also with their country!

Rutherford is currently still in Monaco awaiting the reversal that declares the children residents.

People reported earlier on Friday that Giersch did not allow Rutherford to see the children after arriving in France on Thursday for her latest week-long trip, and was not going to allow her to see their children unless she turned over their U.S. passports to a “neutral person” (who she claimed was one of his attorneys).

Rutherford and Giersch have been embattled in a child custody dispute over their two children since Rutherford filed for divorce on December 30, 2008. She was pregnant with their second child at the time.

In September 2012, a judge ruled that their two children would live in France with their father because he is barred from returning to the U.S. due to a revoked work visa, and Rutherford would travel back and forth to see them as part of their court-mandated parenting plan. Technically, they share 50/50 custody, but Rutherford has been fighting the ruling since it calls for them to (temporarily) live in France.

In June 2013, Rutherford filed for bankruptcy in part as a result of the custody battle expensive legal fees.

Back in April, she created a petition to bring her children home which reached 100,000 signatures, rendering it eligible for White House review.