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Olympic skier, ex-wife embroiled in child custody dispute

Once a couple separates, both partners have to decide which spouse will raise their child. Usually, neither parent is willing to give up child custody or any parental rights. Therefore, child custody disputes are one of the most fought-over aspects of a separation, whether in Virginia, or any other state.

Alexandria residents who regularly follow the news probably already know about the ongoing child custody battle between Olympic skier, Bode Miller and his former partner, Sara McKenna. According to reports, Miller and McKenna met through an online dating agency and McKenna conceived their child before they broke up. She subsequently moved to New York where she gave birth to their son.

The child, now 13 months old, has been shuttling between the homes of both parents since his birth. In the latest hearing held in New York City, temporary custody of the child was awarded to McKenna. In a statement, McKenna said that she hopes to work out an amicable arrangement and provide the child with a stable and normal life.

A child custody dispute like this can easily take a toll on the emotional well-being of the child, especially as he or she grows older. Therefore, to ensure that the best interests of the child are protected, parents may either agree to a shared parenting plan, where both parents spend an adequate amount of time with the child, or seek a lawyer's advice on how to gain sole custody of the child with visitation rights for the non-custodial parent.

In Virginia, courts are known to award sole custody, shared custody, split custody or a combination of these arrangements. This decision, however, is based on the unique set of circumstances of the custody dispute and its primary objective is to protect the best interests if the child.

Source: Oneida Daily Dispatch, "Bode Miller's ex discusses child custody fight," April 3, 2014

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