The former Gossip Girl star has been fighting to have her son Hermes and daughter Helena returned to the U.S. ever since a California judge allowed her ex, German native Daniel Giersch, to temporarily take the kids to live with him in Monaco in 2012, after his U.S. visa was revoked.

A California official granted Rutherford sole custody in May (15), but that decision was subsequently reversed after yet another judge insisted the state lawmakers had no authority to rule on the case.

A judge in Monaco intervened earlier this summer (15) and allowed the children to spend a month with Rutherford in America, but during their return home, the custody battle took a drastic turn as officials in both California and New York claimed they no longer have jurisdiction over the case, even though the children are U.S. citizens.

The actress has since announced she will not be sending her kids back to their father in Monaco, as she was expected to on Thursday (06Aug15), prompting Giersch's lawyer to accuse Rutherford of "child abduction". But the exasperated mother insists she is simply protecting her children.

She tells ABC News, "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 gonna happen?"

Her legal representative, Wendy Murphy, has also spoken out in her client's defence, stating, "Temporary means they (children) come back to their own country, so what Kelly's doing is just respecting what the court said in 2012. They're American citizens, they have a right to live in their own country."

According to ABC News, Rutherford claims her children told her "really alarming things" about life with their father that made her worry about their safety if she were to send them back, but she did not disclose the nature of the concerns.

Hours after the actress' TV appearance aired on Monday (10Aug15), she was ordered to appear in court with her kids on Tuesday (11Aug15).

The actress, who married Giersch in 2006, filed for divorced in 2009 while three months pregnant with Helena.