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Kelly Rutherford’s appeal to win back child custody denied

Kelly Rutherford appears in a scene from the

Kelly Rutherford appears in a scene from the TV show "Gossip Girl." Credit: The CW Network / Giovanni Rufino

A federal court on Thursday rejected actress Kelly Rutherford’s application to appeal a ruling this summer that gave physical custody of her children to her ex-husband in Monaco.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, comes on the heels of a Monaco court’s decision Tuesday forbidding Rutherford from having her son Hermés, 9, and daughter Helena, 6, visit her in the United States. Rutherford’s attorney had no comment Thursday. Former “Gossip Girl” star Rutherford, 47, posted an Instagram image reading simply, “Love.”

The ruling is the latest blow in a yearslong custody battle that was exacerbated in April 2012 when ex-husband Daniel Giersch had his visa revoked during a criminal investigation into fraud and tax evasion. A court subsequently ordered the children to live with him in Monaco since he cannot travel to the United States.

At the end of the children’s summer visit in America this August, Rutherford balked at returning them. Four days later, on Aug. 11, Justice Ellen Gesmer of New York County Supreme Court in Manhattan ordered their immediate return to Monaco. Rutherford attempted to appeal, but Thursday’s decision closed that avenue.

A Monaco court on Tuesday ruled that “the habitual residence of the minor children is fixed at the residence of Giersch” and that Rutherford can “exercise her visiting and accommodation rights exclusively in France and Monaco.” The ruling reaffirmed that “parental authority is exercised jointly” by the parents, who will continue to make “important decisions concerning the health, schooling, religious education, or change of residence of the child.”

Rutherford, who founded the Children’s Justice Campaign to help families in similar situations and who has testified before congress on international-custody issues, filed for bankruptcy in June 2013, saying she had spent nearly $1.5 million in legal fees for her divorce and subsequent custody battle.

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