Foreign judge delivers child custody blow to U.S. actress

Orange County parents who have already gone through a divorce know that there are many issues which must be negotiated. Moreover, rarely are these issues decided with just one person's interests or wishes in mind; instead, there is often a huge amount of compromise required with divorce-related issues, particularly those involving child custody. Still, sometimes there are decisions made that seem to be completely in favor of one parent. How can the other parent cope after such a devastating blow?

Local residents may be familiar with the child custody case of actress Kelly Rutherford, whose ex-husband currently lives in Monaco with the two children the former couple had together. Rutherford, whose attempts to gain custody have played out many times in the media, even founded an organization known as the Children's Justice Campaign to help other families with similar legal problems.

The former spouses' children spent the summer with Rutherford in the U.S., but after that they were to return to their father. Rutherford, however, refused to return the children to their dad. She even issued a statement stating that she could not "lawfully" return her children overseas. A judge in the U.S., though, disagreed and ordered the mother to return the children to their father. The father was recently granted full custody of the children, and Rutherford is banned from bringing them back to the United States.

Of course, in any child custody case there are details and circumstances of which only those involved in the case may be aware. Still, there are often decisions made which are devastating to one parent or another. Obtaining thorough legal counsel at the outset of any child custody situation can help parents understand how custody decisions are made and how to protect the best interests of the child.