San Diego parents engaged in child custody disputes typically face some complicated and emotional obstacles. But most are not as complicated as that of Bode Miller, the Olympic Skiing Champion who, according to a recent article, has filed two separate paternity suits against two different women, seeking joint legal and physical custody of two different children. The best way to proceed is in his case, and in any child custody matter, is to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced San Diego Family Law attorney who can adeptly navigate the court system.
Bode Miller is currently married to an altogether separate woman, Morgan Beck. She is pregnant with their first child together. But Miller just filed a paternity suit against ex- Sara McKenna, who lives in New York. They have a one-month old son together and Miller is asking a judge to force McKenna to bring the baby back to San Diego where Miller currently resides. He is also pursuing an order that would require McKenna to get written consent before she can take their son out of the State of California again.
Under California law, where couples are unmarried, the establishment of paternity (or “parentage”) is the legal procedure for seeking an award of custody, visitation and child support. In order to establish parentage, the parties need to obtain a court order or sign an official Declaration of Paternity indicating who the legal parents of a child are. Once parentage is ordered, parents may then ask the court, as part of the same case, to order child custody, visitation and child support orders.
As this case represents, many complicated issues can arise in child custody disputes where the parents live in different states. Under these circumstances, parties are emphatically encouraged to contact a local, experienced family law attorney, as the laws in different states may vary.
According to the article mentioned above, Miller is likely to face some additional obstacles to receiving joint custody. McKenna is reported to have argued in court that Miller is an unfit father and that he lives on a yacht, a residence that she says is not an appropriate place to raise a child. She further claimed that Miller has substance abuse problems and that he did not want to have the child in the first place.
A court will look at all of the evidence bearing on the best interests of the child. Aside from his custody dispute with McKenna, Miller has simultaneously filed a paternity suit against another woman named Chanel Johnson, also seeking joint and physical custody of a four year-old girl that he claims is his daughter.
While Miller’s multiple child custody disputes are not necessarily typical, many of the issues that have arisen so far actually do take place within the confines of Family Court in San Diego on any given day. Only an attorney well versed in the specialized legal procedures can help explain and protect your rights.
If you are a parent with questions about child custody and visitation or paternity matters, you are encouraged to contact Doppelt & Forney. Mr. Doppelt is an experienced family law attorney, representing parents for more than 20 years in Southern California. Doppelt & Forney serves clients in San Diego, Linda Vista, Encinitas, Scripps Ranch, and throughout Southern California. For a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced family lawyer, contact Doppelt & Forney through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
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