The ongoing child custody battle that has divided Bode Miller and ex-girlfriend Sara McKenna, both emotionally and physically, is not yet over. Miller lives in San Diego, where he and McKenna first met and started dating. According to news reports, she now lives in New York and has recently been awarded temporary custody of their nine-month-old son by a family court referee in that state. Sadly, the baby has been back and forth in each parents' homes as the courts in two separate states attempt to work out an appropriate custody arrangement that will serve the best interests of the child. While the circumstances surrounding this widely publicized dispute are not necessarily the norm, child custody cases can evoke many intense emotions and positions by both parents. If you find yourself facing a child custody matter, it is critical that you contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney who can help you to navigate the sometimes-complicated, emotional process.
McKenna and Miller dated for a short while and although their relationship did not last, Miller did become pregnant. A former United States Marine, McKenna left California for New York to attend Columbia University with the help of the GI Bill. She was pregnant at the time, but claimed that Miller wanted nothing to do with the baby when he learned that she was pregnant. Miller initiated child custody proceedings in a San Diego family court. Once McKenna was in New York, Miller complained to a New York referee that she "absconded" with his baby by moving away. The court granted his request that the case be assigned back to California.
A California court then granted Miller custody of the baby boy. McKenna appealed. Just this month, a five-judge appeals panel in New York said that McKenna's basic rights had been violated and that jurisdiction belongs in New York because the baby was a resident of the state. This decision effectively sent the case back to the family court referee who awarded temporary custody of the baby to McKenna, until the next custody hearing that is scheduled for December 9 in New York.