As many in Illinois are aware, determining child custody can be a long and difficult process. There are a number of extremely important decisions that need to be made, decisions that will have life changing consequences for all parties involved.
When the child custody agreement must be made across state lines, however, the issues can become even more complex. Problems with jurisdiction and visitation can arise, as well as the logistical issues that come from traveling between court appearances.
These are the problems faced by Olympic skier Bode Miller, who is currently embroiled in a child custody dispute that recently reached its eleventh month. Unusually, the cross-state dispute began even before the child was born.
When Miller’s girlfriend, Sara McKenna, was seven months pregnant, she moved from southern California, where Miller lived, to New York, where she aspired to attend graduate school. A co-parenting agreement had not yet been decided when she left the state.
The child was born in New York, making him a New York resident. A New York court referee, however, ruled that McKenna should not have left California without securing a co-parenting agreement. He sent the decision back to California. A court there ruled the Miller and his new wife should have custody of the child. McKenna appealed the decision, however, leading a California court of appeals to send the case back to New York. The case is still there, awaiting future court dates.
There is no telling when a decision may be made in this case. Sources say both parties are amenable to a co-parenting agreement, and simply disagree over who is best suited to maintain primary custody.
NBC News, “Olympic skier Bode Miller loses round in battle over custody of baby son” Victoria Cavaliere, Nov. 25, 2013