Many Chicago viewers were captivated by the Winter Olympics this month, and turned to print and online articles to read all about the life stories of their favorite athletes. If so, they may have been surprised to come across one story about an Olympic athlete that raises troubling issues about parental rights.
Bode Miller, the medal-winning skier, was involved in a nasty child custody battle last year with the mother of his child. The two briefly dated in 2012 when both lived in California, but the woman later told him that she had become pregnant. By then, the skier had moved on to a new relationship with the woman who would later become his wife, but he wished to be involved in the child’s life.
While still pregnant, the woman moved across the country to attend Columbia University in New York. The child was born in February 2013.
However, while the mother was still in California, Miller had applied to the court to establish parental rights for the child. Once the child was born, a New York judge briefly gave custody of the infant to Miller, criticizing the mother for “appropriation of the child while in utero.”
The court’s decision was widely denounced by feminist groups, and even some supporters of fathers’ rights said that preventing a pregnant woman from leaving the state was going too far. The decision was later reversed on appeal and the baby was once again placed with the mother.
This case may be unique in some ways. Just as most people should not even attempt to perform the same types of feats that Olympic athletes do, it may be a bad idea for anyone else to read about this dispute as a roadmap for handling their own child custody issues.
However, the case does illustrate how difficult it can be for courts to decide how to handle child custody disputes when the parents’ interests are very different. For these difficult cases, it is important for Chicago parents to have the help of attorneys who know how to stand up for the rights of both the parent and the child.
Source: Babble.com, “Why Bode Miller’s Child Custody Case Matters More Than You Think,” Alice Gomstyn, Feb. 17, 2014