Kelly Rutherford Granted Sole Custody of Her 2 Children
Rutherford has been fighting to bring her two children back to the United States from Europe since 2012
Kelly Rutherford‘s kids have been ordered to be returned home.
The Gossip Girl star has been given sole legal and physical custody of her two children temporarily after a California judge ruled that son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, almost 6, be brought back to the United States from Monaco, where they had been living with father Daniel Giersch since 2012.
According to a court order filed Friday, the children must return to Los Angeles, and their mother will keep their passports. A hearing at the L.A. Superior Court – where Rutherford, Hermes, Helena and Giersch or his representative are required to be present – is scheduled for June 15.
The news comes after Rutherford told PEOPLE that Giersch would not allow her to see the kids after she arrived in France for her latest trip Thursday unless she gave their U.S. passports to someone his legal team called “a neutral person” but she claimed was one of his attorneys.
“We are ecstatic, and hopeful that Monaco will respect the California court’s ruling and send the children home. It has long been our position that Monaco has no jurisdiction because Hermes and Helena, as American citizens, have an absolute right to live in their own country,” Rutherford’s lawyer Wendy Murphy tells PEOPLE. “If the citizenship shoe were on the other foot and these children were citizens of Monaco, I have no doubt the United States would respect their right to reside in Monaco.
“Monaco officials know that sending the children back to America is the right thing to do. I’m looking forward to the happy reunion of the children not only with their mother, but also with their country!”
The actress has been fighting to appeal the exes’ parenting plan since 2012, when a California judge ruled that since Giersch’s U.S. visa had been revoked, Hermes and Helena would live with him in Europe and Rutherford would fly out to visit – even though they technically shared joint custody.
According to court papers, a former lawyer on Rutherford’s team was responsible for the revocation by reporting the German businessman’s allegedly illegal activities to the State Department. She has steadfastly denied any involvement. Giersch was supposed to reapply for a visa; a State Department spokesperson told PEOPLE he never did.
Rutherford, 46, filed for divorce in 2009, when she was three months pregnant with Helena.
“I’ve always wanted my kids to have a relationship with him, and I’ve really only encouraged that all along. When I went into court, I never asked for money, and I never asked for full custody,” she told PEOPLE in April. “I just wanted what was right for them and their well-being moving forward. And what happened over the next six years was the most surreal, bizarre, unimaginable thing.”