The actress and Daniel Giersch attended a court hearing in Monaco

By Michele Corriston Dana Kennedy
June 22, 2015 03:00 PM
Willi Schneider/Rex USA

Inside a Palais de Justice just blocks from the Monaco palace, Kelly Rutherford won one battle Monday in her six-year war with ex-husband Daniel Giersch over the custody of their two children.

A judge has ordered that Helena, 6, and Hermes, 8, fly to the United States on July 3 to spend the summer with their mother – but as of now, they’ll return to Monaco at the end of their trip to continue living with their father, whom Rutherford divorced in 2009.

“I am pleased with the outcome and that the children will be coming to the US for a part of their summer vacation,” Rutherford said in a statement to PEOPLE. “I am reassured by the Monaco process and the judge. Although I still maintain my legal objections about Monaco hearing the case, my serenity is restored.”

Rutherford, 46, and Giersch, 41, each had two attorneys by their side as they gathered in the judge’s chambers in the courthouse, which sits high atop the Rock of Monaco, across from the famous cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly are buried.

But Wendy Murphy, who represents the children on behalf of Rutherford in New York, insists the court didn’t have the power to make any formal ruling, adding that Rutherford objects to Monaco claiming jurisdiction.

“The children are allowed to come to the U.S. because Monaco knows it has no authority to assert jurisdiction,” she tells PEOPLE. “So it’s not that Monaco ‘allowed’ the children to return to their own country, it’s that they had no choice – because American citizens can never be forced to live in a foreign country – period. Unless the kids are dual citizens – and these kids are not.”

Giersch’s California attorney, Fahi Takesh Hallin, told PEOPLE earlier this month that the German businessman had no problem sending their son and daughter to the States for the summer, as he had done ever since their 2012 arrangement went into effect. But Rutherford was wary.

“I am concerned that he will try to further prevent me from spending time with them,” she said in a statement July 11.

Daniel Giersch and Kelly Rutherford
Michael Williams/Startraks

The new ruling is a comfort to the Gossip Girl star, though the estranged couple are still fighting over custody. Rutherford and Giersch have had joint custody since 2012, when Hermes and Helena moved with him to Europe after his U.S. visa was revoked, forcing Rutherford to travel back and forth to see their children. She wants them to relocate to the United States permanently, but he’s pushing for them to stay in Monaco.

It’s become an international custody dispute that’s attracted the attention of celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, who rallied behind Rutherford on social media.

Kelly Rutherford with Helena and Hermes in 2011
Randy Brooke/WireImage

Rutherford and Giersch will face off in a Los Angeles court July 9.

Murphy says she believes the L.A. judge will rule in her client’s favor following this month’s allegation that Giersch forged an email about the terms of his visa revocation. (Hallin shot down the accusation, calling the revocation “unfortunately very real.”)

“Monaco only asserted jurisdiction because the kids were living there for so long – which was caused by this country – but only because the children’s father submitted a fraudulent document and falsely claimed he was unable to enter the United States,” Murphy says.

“Now we look forward to the California court in July fixing this mess and bringing the children home for good,” she adds. “Their father can visit them here as he should have from day one because he is free to enter this country on a passport.”

Giersch is not commenting on Monday’s hearing.

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