Kelly Rutherford and Daniel Giersch will face off in a Monaco court Thursday

By Michele Corriston
Updated September 02, 2015 02:10 PM
Credit: INF Photo

Kelly Rutherford is ready to fight for custody on her ex-husband’s home turf.

The actress has arrived in the South of France to attend a Monaco court hearing Thursday in her bitter battle with Daniel Giersch over where their two children should live.

Rutherford, 46, isn’t alone as she prepares to make her case that the kids, both American citizens, should move back to the United States. She was photographed walking around the glitzy European principality Wednesday with her Gossip Girl costar Caroline Lagerfelt, who played her character Lily van der Woodsen’s patrician mother CeCe Rhodes on the CW show. And Lagerfelt, 67, shared an Instagram of Rutherford and their close friend Helen Chaitman exploring the southeastern France region of Valbonne on Tuesday.

The mom to Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, posted an inspirational message to her Instagram account as well: “Everything will work out. Things will get better. You are strong. You can do this.”

After spending the summer with her and New York, Rutherford’s children flew back to Monaco, where they have lived with their dad since 2012 despite the parents’ joint custody. (They go to school in France.) She initially refused to return them after, she told PEOPLE, they “got really panicky” when it came time to leave, but Giersch accused her of kidnapping, and a state supreme court judge sent them to Europe in August.

“It was a Kafka-esque ambush proceeding that left the public in shock,” Rutherford’s U.S. attorney Wendy Murphy tells PEOPLE in a statement. “The kids were put on a plane just 24 hours after the father filed papers demanding that his own children be taken into custody on the grounds that they were at risk of being abducted. He lied.”

Giersch has declined to comment on Rutherford’s “false statements,” saying he is protecting Hermes and Helena’s privacy.

What will happen Thursday? After the N.Y.C. hearing, Giersch’s lawyers said the German businessman is not “looking to punish” Rutherford in Monaco court. Still, his attorney Ira Garr said they are “considering taking different measures about future visits to the United States, how the passports are held or whether the visits need to be supervised.”