As the world gears up to watch the Winter Olympics, the 10-month-old little boy caught in the middle of the divorce between Olympic skier Bode Miller and ex-girlfriend Sara McKenna will finally have some peace in his short, young life — for the time being, at least. Miller and his former flame have agreed to share custody with their infant son for the next few months, calming a custody battle over him as Miller prepares to head for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Last year, Miller and McKenna had a brief relationship in Southern California, where Miller still resides. Miller filed California court papers claiming paternity of the baby in November 2012, when McKenna was still pregnant. The following month, McKenna moved to New York to attend Columbia University to complete her bachelor’s degree. Then, in February 2013, she gave birth to the little boy – and conveniently filed for custody in New York. Miller accused McKenna of moving while seven months pregnant to relocate to a state with laws that favor mothers. McKenna argues that she moved to Manhattan because she did not want to give up her dream of attending the Ivy League university.
Though lauded by women’s rights activists who believe McKenna had been penalized by the New York judge’s decision, McKenna was criticized by a New York City family court referee for leaving California before co-parenting details could be worked out. The Court Attorney Referee called McKenna’s move “irresponsible” and “reprehensible,” and sent the case back to California, where a judge gave Miller and his new wife custody of the baby boy. McKenna’s attorneys appealed the decision, claiming McKenna’s rights had been violated and that jurisdiction belongs in New York because the baby, having been born in New York, was a resident of the state. As such, the case was kicked back to the same New York courtroom, where Miller and McKenna were able to agree to temporary shared custody.
Though the arrangement reached between Miller and McKenna is only temporary, attorneys for both sides are hopeful the dispute will be resolved. The arrangement will also allow Miller to take his son to the February Olympics in Sochi. For his part, Miller is “psyched about the cooperative plan” and for hers, McKenna “think[s] we’re on the right road.”*
If you’re considering a cross-country move during a custody dispute, be sure to first consult an experienced family law attorney. Having a knowledgeable, experienced family law attorney by your side can prove to be invaluable. If you have any questions about your divorce or custody issues, please contact our California Certified Family Law Specialists (as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization). Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri’s attorneys have decades of experience handling complex family law proceedings and are happy to offer you a free half-hour consultation.
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