Child custody matters can be complicated enough when both parents live in New York. When one of the parents lives out of state, but still wants partial custody or at least visitation time, questions of jurisdiction often enters the picture. Where should the case be handled? Which state’s child custody laws apply?
In a high-profile example, legendary skier Bode Miller and the mother of his 18-month-old son have reached a settlement in their child custody dispute. According to the New York Daily News, The deal comes shortly before the parents were set to go to trial over whether their prior custody arrangement was harming the boy. Miller and his wife live in California, while the boy’s mother, who had a brief relationship with Miller, is a student at Columbia University in New York City.
While the woman was still pregnant, Miller convinced a judge in California to award him sole custody once the child was born. At first, a Family Court judge in New York upheld the California ruling and ordered the woman to turn over her son to Miller.
The mother appealed, and after she did not see her son for months, the appellate court overturned the ruling on jurisdictional grounds. Specifically, the court found that any custody decision had to come from New York, the state where the boy was born. Since then, the parents shared custody.
It is not clear if Miller and the mother will continue to split custody as they currently are, or if their settlement includes a new arrangement. They could also possibly adjust the child custody plan as their son grows older.