Many Minnesotans are familiar with the name Bode Miller -- thousands watched him ski his way to an Olympic bronze medal in Sochi in February. What most Americans do not know, however, is that Mr. Miller is currently involved in a long-term child custody dispute with his former girlfriend. The dispute began with the child's birth and has continued for over 13 months.
Child custody disputes can often stretch into extremely long durations when couples have shown an inability to work together or to reach a compromise. In these cases, spouses often use the proceedings as an opportunity to gain an advantage over each other, often to the detriment of the child.
Mr. Miller and his former girlfriend have certainly shown a reluctance to come to an agreement. The two do not even agree upon the child's name: He calls the boy Nathanial while she refers to him as Samuel.
Earlier this week, the two failed to arrive at a temporary custody schedule during a conference in a New York court. The court referee in the case stated that the parents must come up with a parenting schedule by April 7, or another hearing will be scheduled.
There is currently no indication that the debacle will end any time soon. The case was complicated recently by the mother's accusations that Mr. Miller had not yet paid any child support for the 13-month-old baby. An attorney for Mr. Miller replied that a child support case was ongoing in California.
Ideally, child custody disputes should be respectful, well-reasoned and carefully structured to keep the child out of the crossfire. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. In cases of high contention, it is the attorney's responsibility to help keep things focused on the most important issue at hand: the best interests of the child.
Source: New York Daily News, "Bode Miller’s custody battle with Sara McKenna over baby son still on as former couple can’t reach agreement" Nathaniel Vinton, Mar. 31, 2014