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"Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford made a bold move in her ongoing custody battle with ex-husband Daniel Giersch last Thursday, when she decided to not return her two children to their father in Monaco.
The 46-year-old mother of Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, had been ordered to fly her children back to the European principality based on a 2012 court order that ruled the kids would spend the summers with their mother in New York while living the rest of the year with their father. However, Rutherford has refused to return them.
"In May, a judge in California gave me sole custody and [I] brought them home," she said in a statement, according to Today.com, referring to the long and convoluted custody battle with ex-husband Giersch. "Since May, however, the court proceedings have been confusing."
In 2012, a California judge ruled that Rutherford and Giersch would have joint custody of their children but ordered that they live with their father in Monaco because his U.S. visa had been revoked. Giersch reportedly has not filed for a new visa.
In recent months, courts in California and New York have both ruled that they have no jurisdiction of her American-born kids and can therefore not make a final custody decision.
Because of that, Rutherford continued in her statement, "no state in this country is currently protecting my children. It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away. Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country."
That decision is not sitting well with Giersch, whose attorney released his own statement, calling Rutherford's move "child abduction."
"Daniel will continue to protect the children from any harm and any media exposure," Giersch's lawyer Fahi Takesh Hallin said in a statement, according to People magazine. "Unfortunately Kelly has now added child abduction to extortion and false statements on her list of actions. Daniel will make sure that the children's safety and well being will be restored as soon as possible."
The back-and-forth continued earlier this morning, when Rutherford appeared on "Good Morning America" to discuss her decision.
"It's been very hard for the kids and I. It's been kind of cruel, in a way, because we just want to see each other and be together, and they're very young," she said. "It put me as a parent in an odd place, because if nobody's taking jurisdiction, how do you put your children on a plane to a foreign country not knowing what's going to happen?"