Actress Kelly Rutherford has been given a glimmer of hope to keep her kids with ex-husband DANIEL GIERSCH in the U.S. after a Los Angeles judge offered to help resolve the German businessman's immigration issues so he can return to America.

The former Gossip Girl star has been locked in a bitter custody battle with Giersch since their divorce in 2009, and she recently filed papers asking federal court authorities to overturn a 2012 ruling allowing their two children to live with their father in France.

Rutherford claimed the state official who granted Giersch primary care of seven-year-old son Hermes and five-year-old daughter Helena acted beyond the scope of his power by effectively deporting the youngsters, but she lost her bid during a hearing on Wednesday (13Aug14), when the federal judge claimed he wasn't qualified to make such a ruling.

However, he reached out to the desperate mum and offered to hold a conference call with Rutherford's lawyer and Giersch's legal representative in an effort to find a resolution for the dad's visa problems, reports

His U.S. visa was revoked in 2012 for undisclosed reasons.

Rutherford has until 19 August (14) to find a solution, otherwise her children must be returned to Giersch in France.

The costly custody battle prompted the actress to file for bankruptcy last year (13).