The Gossip Girl’s Custody Mistakes

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

Kelly Rutherford, the “Gossip Girl” actress, made mistakes in her divorce. She lost an international custody dispute, and now timeshares with her children in Europe. What happened?

I’ve written before about avoiding divorce mistakes. A recent Vanity Fair article reminded me of those posts. Vanity Fair details Kelly’s problems in a surprisingly favorable article.

Kelly had bad luck with marriage. She left her first marriage to a Venezuelan banker after he got sick from a heart condition. The marriage lasted 7-months.

Her second marriage to German businessman Daniel Giersch lasted longer, she filed after 28-months. She had two children with Daniel, and Kelly’s mistakes began almost immediately.

Daniel argued to a family judge that Kelly was excluding him from the children. This can be a big mistake when you’re trying to prove you facilitate a relationship with the other parent.

– The court found Kelly withheld news of their child’s impending birth, and when he asked to be at the hospital, she refused.

– Kelly left his name off the birth certificate, the “father” field was left blank.

– The court found Kelly “falsely represented” to a custody evaluator that she placed the Father’s name on the birth certificate when she hadn’t. Worse, she refused to add it when confronted with the issue in Court.

– The court found Kelly withheld the children for over a month, and unilaterally enrolled them in school.

– Kelly was found to be making negative remarks about Daniel in front of the kids, accusing him of “dealing arms and drugs”, being “homicidal”, and telling her son to “scream and call the police” if he was in an airport with his dad.

– In the courthouse, Kelly’s lawyer called the State Department to get the Father deported, promising to call off the arrest and deportation if the Father would agree not to have any visitation with his kids.

These actions are mistakes, as courts look at which parent will foster a meaningful relationship with the other parent in custody decisions.

This August, Kelly refused to return the children to Europe. By refusing to return them, Kelly placed the kids in a needless court hearing. A court in New York immediately returned them to their Father.

Kelly’s coup de grâce of mistakes? This is not a press statement you want to issue:

“What the judge did yesterday was shocking, illegal, and abusive to my children. Without any legal authority, a judge from the lowest ranking court in the state court system violated the highest ranking federal constitutional rights of my American citizen children.”

There is a lot you can learn from watching celebrity divorces. The Vanity Fair article is available here.