Lessons from a 'Gossip Girl': International Joint Custody Stinks - The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Chicago Family Law Blog

Lessons from a 'Gossip Girl': International Joint Custody Stinks

In a way, the ruling, and the underlying law, makes sense. If one parent is legally stuck in another country, and cannot travel back and forth, then the movable parent should be the one to make the commute while the stuck parent covers the cost. It's a fair compromise. It allows both parents to have a relationship with the children.

Still, it sucks. Granted, the alternatives are even less desirable. You could take away custody from one parent. You could also shuttle the kids back and forth on a commercial flight every two weeks. Neither are better options for a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old.

Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford, 43, is just going to have to deal with the commute, at least until her ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, gets his paperwork in order, reports the Daily News. And that, quite frankly, sucks.

She's not without valid complaints either. The kids were sent to France temporarily. Their father's visa paperwork will keep them there indefinitely. While her finances and work schedule were probed in the custody decision, according to Rutherford, her ex-husband's visa denial and alleged appeal were not required to be presented in court. That means he could simply be refusing to fight for a visa in order to keep the kids in France.

The ruling requires Giersch, who made his money by suing Google over his trademark to "G-Mail", to pay for six commercial flight tickets to France for Rutherford to visit the children each year, plus provide her with a house and car in France. Technically, at least, she has joint custody. And he'll be footing the bill for the added expenses of keeping her children in France. Perhaps the running tab will eventually motivate him to fight the visa process even harder.

Still, the arrangement means that instead of tucking her children in at night, Rutherford be video chatting with them. That's not a substitute for her, and it's not a substitute for them. However, the law can only do so much. At least in this case, it seems to be doing the best it can in a complicated international custody dispute.

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