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Judge rules state has no jurisdiction in Rutherford case

Pennsylvania entertainment fans may be interested to learn about the latest development in actress Kelly Rutherford's custody battle. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that California no longer has jurisdiction over the matter and that Ms. Rutherford's case thus cannot proceed in that state.

Ms. Rutherford initially shared custody with her ex, but in 2012, his visa was revoked and he had to remain overseas. At that time, the court ruled the children would have to stay with the father in Monaco until the immigration issue was resolved.

The case was filed after the father was no longer allowed to enter the U.S. Despite the fact that Ms. Rutherford was never accused of wrongdoing, the court had the children remain overseas. Her attorney stated that there has not been a case like Ms. Rutherford's before, and that the judge who issued the earlier ruling was the cause of California's losing jurisdiction in the first place. Ms. Rutherford already has a pending appeal in a New York federal court about her petition that the children be brought back to the U.S., which was denied in April. She has not indicated whether she plans to appeal the current ruling as well.

Every state has rules regarding jurisdiction over children who are the subject of a child custody dispute. In order for a state to have jurisdiction, children must have resided there for a set period of time prior to when the case is filed. Ms. Rutherford's case is unique in that the court's own actions contributed to California losing jurisdiction. People who have questions regarding jurisdiction in their own child custody matter may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to advise their clients about the most appropriate venue in which they should file their case.

Source: ABC News, "Judge rules Kelly Rutherford's custody battle can't continue in California," Michael Rothman and Lesley Messer, July 23, 2015.

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