In new legal documents obtained by Tmz.com, the former Gossip Girl star reveals she has debts of over $2 million (£1.3 million) and no means to pay them with a reported monthly income of less than $1,300 (£839) - and so has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Reports suggest the actress spent $1.5 million (£968,000) in her custody battle over children Hermes and Grace with Giersch.
Rutherford wed the German businessman in 2006 and gave birth to their son the same year. The couple split in 2009, while she was pregnant with their daughter.
A bitter custody battle, during which Rutherford accused her ex of violence and drug dealing, followed. Giersch, who now lives in Monaco, was awarded custody of the two children, while Rutherford was given permission to visit them in between acting jobs.