Child custody depends on a variety of things, all determining the best interest of the child, including the child’s wishes, how stable the home environment is and if there are any allegations of abuse or neglect. Another thing courts take into account is the relationship between the child and each parent and how supportive the custodial parent is about the relationship between the child and the other parent. A recent case in California involving actress Kelly Rutherford highlights the importance of this factor.
The actress has been ordered to return her children to Monaco to be with their father after withholding them from him. The child custody case began when the two separated and agreed to a temporary custody agreement, which was then made impossible when the father’s visa was revoked and he was unable to enter the United States to see his children. The actress petitioned a California court for sole custody, which was denied. Instead, the court ordered the children to Monaco to be with their father since Rutherford could visit and the father could not.
The case then became more complicated because the children had not been living in California during that time and the court had lost jurisdiction over the case. When Rutherford petitioned for another change in the custody agreement, the court indicated Monaco was the right location for the petition. The actress chose to keep the children from their father, and the father responded by filing an emergency request in New York for their return. The court complied.
It seems the actress has continuously attempted to prevent the relationship between the father and the children from developing. In a case such as this, a lawyer might advise that the parent seeking custody should show that they are supportive of the relationship between the children and the other parent and might suggest a custody agreement that accommodates this.