Actress Kelly Rutherford has been given sole and legal custody temporarily of her children after a California judge ruled that son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, almost 6, be brought back to the United States from Monaco, where they had been living with father Daniel Giersch since 2012. Rutherford has fought a long and exhausting custody battle to obtain these positive results. Whether or not this decision becomes permanent will be determined in time.
There truly are no winners in this custody battle between Rutherford and Giersch. There are however some “casualties” of this process; their two beautiful children. It is nearly impossible for children to be shielded from a high profile custody case like Rutherford’s. We know from research that young children feel confusion, anxiety, a clear feeling of rejection and divided loyalties when one parent is not in their lives.
Rutherford told People Magazine in April that, “‘I’ve always wanted my kids to have a relationship with him, and I’ve really only encouraged that all along. When I went into court, I never asked for money, and I never asked for full custody. I just wanted what was right for them and their well-being moving forward. And what happened over the next six years was the most surreal, bizarre, unimaginable thing.”
Rutherford’s words appear to be a healthy way of navigating this high conflict custody battle. Custody decisions should always be made in the best interest of the children and not what is best for each individual parent.
Here are 6 rights every child should have when a high profile custody case is occurring between their parents:
Right 1: The right to love each parent without guilt, pressure or rejection.
Right 2: The right to spend time with both of my parents and not worry about what their feelings are towards one another.
Right 3: The right to not chose sides.
Right 4: The right to not hear my parents argue in front of me.
Right 5: The emotional right to express and have validated my anger, frustration and anxiety about my future.
Right 6: The right to be a kid and be free from the animosity between my parents.
Whatever is the conclusion in this custody case between Rutherford and Giersch, I hope that they can come together to successfully co-parent their children and give them the parents they deserve. No children should be caught in the middle of their parent’ s divorce. In the end the real casualties are the children.