Some people think that money is a source of happiness. That
people who have it can lead perfect lives with no worries about anything.
It can certainly make some things in life easier, but it is not a
determining factor in our path towards bliss. When you become a parent, your priorities
shift and your world revolves around the kids: what time they need to be in
bed, if they did their homework, if they're eating properly. Those are the new
This can take a toll in a relationship and, once things are not
amicable anymore, it can turn into a painful custody battle.
We try not to hurt our children so we attempt to handle things as gracefully
and smoothly as possible. This rarely happens. Most marriages that end in
divorce carry a significant amount of baggage. Resentment and grudges can take
a toll in the process by bringing the bitterness of either or, in some
instances, both parties and make custody arrangements difficult. Even when
couples go in with the best intentions, the burden of a financial agreement,
child-rearing styles and shared time can turn the most pacifist people into
sharks. Especially if one parent considers the other side to be significantly impaired
or lacking the necessary skills to raise kids in a healthy environment.
Sometimes, there are worse cases than those. There are
situations where children are, in fact, removed from the main caregiver and taken
thousands of miles of way from their families—cases where is not only about
family law, but also international laws and politics.
For example, the case of
Kelly Rutherford. The former "Gossip Girl" actress has been going through one
of the most excruciating and agonizing situations a mother could ever imagine. After
a Los Angeles court ruled the father of her children could take the children temporarily to Monaco in
2012, they were improperly granted residency in Monaco where they have been
living for the past three years. The order was just lifted, and Rutherford has been granted temporary custody. The children and their mother will, hopefully, finally and rightfully be reunited soon.
In my opinion, the judicial system failed Rutherford in many ways. First
and foremost, these are U.S. born citizens who had been residing in the U.S. Although
their father had lost his visa to stay in the country, he had two years to
request it again, which he failed to do. Instead, he kept the children away
from their mother.
Why did it take three years, a huge social media campaign
and media scrutiny for a court to rule that Monaco did not have authority over
the children and that they should be returned to their birth country to live with their
mother? Why did this mom have to endure the frustration of not knowing her children's well-being firsthand? Why was her right to see them grow
during this time superseded by their father's desire to live with them in a country that had no legal
jurisdiction over them?
This is a clear example that neither money nor fame can
ensure you joy or an easy ride in life. The system failed her in the worst way
Saddest part: the system has done that to many other parents who have lost
the right to raise their children due to technicalities. Custody can be one of the
scariest processes to endure for a loving parent who wishes to do the best for their kids under challenging circumstances.
What's most important is to not lose sight of kids' best
interest due to personal anger towards the other parent. However, just like
Rutherford, parents need to remember to never give up and settle for less than what they know is best for