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Although actress Kelly Rutherford’s battle with her ex for custody of their children is widely publicized, custody disputes occur every day to parents who aren’t celebrities. In that case, Rutherford has been attempting to gain sole custody after her ex had permanently moved to Europe. The custody battle has been on-going since 2009, even before the birth of their second child.

The couple lived and divorced in California. The California court granted child custody to Rutherford’s ex husband, Daniel Giersch, due to his inability to return to the United States because of visa issues. The children went to live with him in France. Rutherford attempted to fight the decision, both in California, and New York where she was residing. However, both courts claimed they did not have jurisdiction over the case, which led Rutherford to file in federal court. The federal court threw out the case for lack of jurisdiction as well. Rutherford is now forced to bring an action in Monaco, where the children currently reside with their father.

Not being able to raise one’s children can be traumatizing for a parent. Typically, custody is filed in family court in the state in which the children reside. At a child custody hearing, if parents agree regarding custody, an order will be entered and no further proceeding is necessary. However, if custody is disputed, a hearing will be conducted and testimony from both sides will be heard. Sometimes it may also be necessary to have an investigation conducted by social services and a mental health report issued as evidence regarding the child’s best interests. Child custody orders may always be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was issued.

Sometimes mediation is an approach that can be taken by the parties. In this case, both parents sit down with a trained mediator who is a neutral party. While the mediator does not make any decisions, the objective is to resolve conflicts and consider the issues surrounding the children before a court date.

Child custody disputes can be long and emotionally difficult. If you are involved in a custody dispute with your ex, contact an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and make sure that your rights and your children are protected. The Law Office of Larry McCord and Associates is skilled and experienced in dealing with all aspects of family law matters. Call (631) 643-3084 for a consultation today.

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