What happens when one parent tries to deport the other parent?

As unbelievable as that concept sounds these situations actually exist.  The high profile case of Kelly Rutherford is making waves as a Federal Court was petitioned to stop the alleged “deportation” of her children, who were ordered to live in France with the Father. The court declined to exercise jurisdiction. However, looking closer at the case the circumstances reveal a different picture.

The Los Angeles Superior Court’s order in 2012 granted residential custody to Giersch (father) in Monaco, with a 50-50% timeshare and joint legal and physical custody.  Additionally, Giersch was ordered to pay for six flights per year for Rutherford and to pay for her house and car while she is there.  This order was partially based on the flexibility of Rutherford’s employment, the incomes of both parties, and Giersch’s offer to pay for some of Rutherford’s expenses.  The children share Giersh’s German nationality and have dual citizenship.

The court’s order is a “temporary order” because upon the occurrence of certain events, such as Giersch’s American visa being restored, the custody “plan” would change.  Under California law, a temporary custody order does not require a “substantial change in circumstances” in order for a party to request a new order.   Montenegro v. Diaz,  26 C4th 249 (2001); Marriage of Lewin, 186 CA3d 1482, 1487 (1986).

The reason for the court’s order was based largely on the attempts to revoke the father’s visa status in the U.S.“ Rutherford had not been totally forthcoming about her work schedule and that her fears of Giersch abducting the children had led her to fail to ‘demonstrate the level of commitment to facilitating the relationship (with their father) that would be required of a residential parent in a relocation situation’.” Furthermore, Judge Beaudet blamed Rutherford’s team for contributing to the revocation of Giersch’s visa saying “he (Rutherford’s attorney) immediately took away one parent’s ability to be with his children. . . I must say the court never imagined that anything like what [former lawyer Mathew] Rich did would occur in this or any other case.”

Although no doubt sympathy is invoked for a mother “fighting” for her children, there are few things more heinous than removing a parent from the lives of their children by facilitating deportation.


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