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Judge: Kids must move to France with father

In a decision that could strike fear into Louisiana parents in the midst of a custody battle, a judge has ordered that actress Kelly Rutherford send her two young children to France to live with her ex-husband because he is not welcome in the U.S.

Rutherford and her husband divorced in 2009 when she was pregnant with their second child. She expressed her fears that he would kidnap the children, and in 2010, a court ruled the children would stay with Rutherford. Earlier this year, the man was stripped of his visa, and he relocated to Europe. He has been accused, according to media reports, of dealing in weapons and drugs. Since he can no longer enter the U.S., Rutherford has been traveling with the children to places such as Canada so he could spend time with the children.

But in a twist, a judge now has ordered that the children be based in France with him, even though they are American citizens and neither parent is of French descent. The judge said that since Rutherford is free to come and go to France to visit the children at any time she wants, and their father cannot enter the U.S., the children should make their permanent resident with him.

The judge said Rutherford had intended to relocate from one state to another for her work as an actress and that she had not demonstrated a commitment to working with the children's father, despite her willingness to travel to meet with him. Additionally, she said that the children had been introduced to France when the parents took the older child there on vacation and when Rutherford enrolled the younger one in a French school.

Rutherford has not yet announced whether she will appeal the judge's ruling. Whatever a judge decides in a custody issue must be in the best interest of the children.

Source: Mediaite, "Two American Kids Shipped To France In One Of The Worst Custody Decisions. Ever.," Dan Abrams, Aug. 31, 2012

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