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How the Bode Miller Case Brings About Child Custody Questions

It is no secret that parenting time issues become magnified during the holiday season. Parents want the opportunity to spend special time with their children so that indelible memories can be created. While parenting time disputes between parents living in the same city have their difficulties, the same problems between people living in different states are considerably tougher to resolve.

Such is likely the case between skier Bode Miller and his ex-girlfriend Sara McKenna. The two have been embroiled in an interstate custody dispute over their son. Media outlets have highlighted a number of points that the two are at odds over, especially the child's name. (She calls him Sam, while he calls the boy Nate).

The two recently reached an agreement regarding critical issues at hand, including paternity, as well as temporary physical and legal custody of the child. Another hearing is scheduled for March 31 in New York. Nevertheless, the case exemplifies a number of issues that can come about when unmarried couples disagree on custody and live in different states.

First, venue questions arise when competing petitions are filed in different states. Commonly, a case is venued in the jurisdiction where the petitioning party resides, provided he or she has met the residential requirements. There are some exceptions to this rule that contemplate emergency situations. Second, different presumptions apply to unmarried couples compared to married parties. Essentially, legal and physical custody of a child may rest with the unmarried mother until a father petitions a court for custody and parenting time.

If you have questions regarding custody and parenting time and you are a presumptive parent who lives out of state, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Source: ABC, "Skier, ex-flame agree in NY to share time with son," Jennifer Peltz, December 10, 2013

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