Famous US Ski Team member and Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller is currently locked into a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend, Sara A. McKenna, a former Marine and firefighter. The two dated briefly after being matched by high end matchmaker Kelleher International last year. Sara ended up pregnant and in the seventh month of her pregnancy, she moved to New York to attend Columbia University.
A custody battle ensued and Bode Miller initially won custody of the unborn child. This raised some major red flags for women’s advocacy groups and got the story a spot in the New York Times.
Custody Battle Raises Questions About the Rights of Women
In December, when she was seven months pregnant and already sparring with Mr. Miller about their future relations, Ms. McKenna moved to New York to start school. Mr. Miller accused her of fleeing to find a sympathetic court, and a New York judge agreed, castigating Ms. McKenna for virtually absconding with her fetus. This allowed a California court to subsequently grant custody of the baby, a boy, to Mr. Miller and also set off alarm bells among advocates for women’s rights.
But on Nov. 14, a five-judge appeals court in New York said Ms. McKenna’s basic rights had been violated, adding, “Putative fathers have neither the right nor the ability to restrict a pregnant woman from her constitutionally protected liberty.”
The appeals court also ruled that jurisdiction belonged in New York.
On Monday, a New York City Family Court will start proceedings that could switch custody of the boy, now nine months old, back to Ms. McKenna.
But a tug of war between courts in two states remains possible, because the San Diego judge has not yet ceded jurisdiction.
It is an unusual celebrity custody case, not centered on extravagant financial demands or questions about paternity. Both sides say they hope for “co-parenting,” but relations have been poisoned by what Ms. McKenna says is a steamroller campaign by Mr. Miller to push her to the margins and by what Mr. Miller calls the mother’s uncooperative behavior based on a quest for revenge.
They cannot even agree on what to call the boy. When he was born in New York on Feb. 23, Ms. McKenna pointedly gave the newborn Mr. Miller’s given names, registering him as Samuel Bode Miller-McKenna. She calls him Sam. Mr. Miller won permission from the California court to add Nathaniel as a middle name, in honor of his recently deceased brother, and he calls the boy Nate. – New York Times
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