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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Skier and ex-girlfriend reach accord in custody dispute

The paternity and custody saga between skier Bode Miller and his former girlfriend Sara McKenna has garnered headlines. The dispute has included public insults and disagreement on even the child’s name. However, the temporary custody and parenting time agreement the parties reached has the potential to end the nearly year-long legal battle.

According to an ABC report, the parties had a brief relationship when they lived together in California. While McKenna was pregnant, Miller filed a petition in California to establish paternity. A month later, McKenna moved to New York and gave birth to the child (a baby boy) in February 2013. She filed a custody petition in a Manhattan court.

A Manhattan Family Court referee sent the case back to California and sharply criticized McKenna’s move to New York while an existing paternity matter was pending in another jurisdiction. A California court awarded temporary custody of the boy to Miller in August. However, a New York appellate court overruled the prior New York ruling and allowed McKenna to have temporary custody of the child. With that, both sides appeared primed for a long legal battle.

With this week’s agreement between the parties, there is a consistent parenting plan in place at least until the end of March 2014, when the next hearing is scheduled. According to the ABC report, the agreement works for both parties. Miller can also take the child to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where he is scheduled to compete.

In the meantime, the story exemplifies how child custody disputes can be difficult and complicated, especially when one (or both) parents travel extensively for their jobs. It remains to be seen whether a permanent agreement can be reached without a trial.

Source: ABC, “Skier, ex-flame agree in NY to share time with son,” Jennifer Peltz, December 10, 2013

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