In a ruling that’s being hailed as a victory for women’s rights, custody of Olympic skier Bode Miller’s 9-month-old son has been awarded to the boy’s mother. The ruling overturns a decision made by a New York judge in May. The boy will remain with the woman at least until a hearing on Dec. 9 examines the case further.
The biggest point of contention in the case involves the woman’s relocation from California to New York during her pregnancy. She stated that she moved in order to attend Columbia University, extend her career opportunities and provide a better future for her unborn son. However, the judge in the original child custody hearing ruled that the woman’s move was “reprehensible” and “irresponsible,” stating that she had moved to New York to improve her position in the custody battle. The decision angered women’s groups across the country by essentially declaring that pregnant women do not have the right to make one of the most basic decisions – choosing where to live.
Attorneys for Bode Miller state that it was never his intention to prevent the woman from moving. Rather, he is just trying to stay involved with his son’s life, as the child was moved 3,000 miles away from him. The reversal has been described as an affirmation of the right that a pregnant woman has to travel without interference from the government or presumptive fathers.
The woman has said that Bode Miller did not initially want to be involved in the child’s life. In fact, the Olympic gold medalist married another woman while his ex-girlfriend was pregnant. He also has a young daughter from another prior relationship.
This case has proven very divisive. Most people see it as a triumph for women, yet some see it as a setback for fathers’ rights and ensuring that fathers have access to the their children. This ruling may set a precedent that could be cited often as the number of nontraditional families continues to increase.
Source: sfgate.com, “Bode Miller custody case becomes women’s-rights cause” No author given, Nov. 29, 2013