A skier heading to the Winter Olympics in Russia this coming February, Bode Miller, has agreed with the mother of his son to share custody of the child, currently an infant, for at least the next four months. This essentially brought to a halt, at least for the moment, what was shaping up to be a heated courtroom child custody battle.
Maryland sports fans will recall how Miller recently came in second in the men’s World Cup giant slalom. Under the custody sharing arrangement, he will have the opportunity to take his son with him to Russia when he skies in the Winter Olympics. The child is currently nine months old and is the result of a brief fling the skier had with a 28-year-old woman. He subsequently married someone else, a women’s professional volleyball player.
A court in Miller’s home state at one point awarded temporary custody of the boy to him. The mother subsequently moved to another state which some believe was motivated by the fact that the time period of child support payments were lengthier there. The court there agreed, calling the mother’s actions reprehensible, and sending the case back to the state where both parties had once lived and the father still resides. Some women’s rights advocates were critical of that ruling, arguing that it effectively let fathers decide where pregnant women could live.
Child custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. Often, if the parties can come to some sort of voluntary agreement on custody arrangements, the court will defer to it. Shared or joint custody, while once almost unheard of, is now increasingly common.
ESPN, “Bode Miller to share custody of son” No author given, Dec. 09, 2013