The age-old battle between mothers' rights vs. fathers' rights

When the parents of a child can no longer work together, generally issues surrounding child custody and visitation rights for the non-custodial parent are amplified. In most cases, a mothers' right to raise her child versus the fathers' rights to see his child are pitted against each other.

Florida residents familiar with Olympic skier Bode Miller may find it interesting to learn that he is embroiled in a child custody battle with the mother of his now 9-month-old son. According to reports, Miller had a brief relationship with the 28-year-old woman in 2012 and had a child with her. According to the woman, while she was pregnant Miller stated that he did not want to be a part of the child's life. In fact, while the woman was pregnant he married another woman. Nevertheless, in November of 2012 Miller filed paperwork in court claiming paternity.

However, by the time Miller filed paternity paperwork, the 28-year-old had already moved to another state for education and schooling purposes. The child was born in February of 2013. A judge presiding over the case in New York, where the woman moved, labeled her move irresponsible and reprehensible, noting that she made this move to better her position in a legal custody dispute. However, that ruling was revered and the case was scheduled for another hearing in the near future. Until the next hearing, the child is with his mother.

The women's attorneys touted the reversal as an affirmation of a pregnant women's right to move without meddling from presumptive fathers. However, Miller's attorney noted that he simply wanted to be a part of this son's life, and the woman's relocation put the child at nearly 3,000 miles away from this father. At least one law school professor noted that this case is both about women's rights and their autonomy, and a father's right to have access to his child.

Courts usually consider various factors when making child custody determinations, and then make final determinations in the best interest of the child. There are times when these issues can get complex, particularly when it comes to one parent's relocation of the child, which may interfere with the other parent's parenting time.

Source: SFGate, "Bode Miller custody case becomes women's-rights cause," Nov. 29, 2013

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