Image: Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller arrives with his son at Manhattan's Family Court
Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

TODAY   |  November 26, 2013

Olympic skier Bode Miller in custody battle over son

The gold medal-winning Alpine skier was forced to hand over his son in a complicated custody dispute with a woman he dated over a year ago. The dispute has spawned discussion about the rights of women.

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>>> miller. he is hoping to compete in sochi but now he is in a fight for custody of his infant son. stephanie gosk has details on that.

>> olympic skier bode miller clunched his nine month old nate as he walked into family court in new york city .

>> what do you expect today?

>> i hope the judge makes the right decision.

>> but it was the child's mother she walked without the baby she calls sam. granted temporary custody as a complicated legal battle unfolds. the couple dated in california over a year ago when mckenna became pregnant. she claims the skier wanted nothing to do with the baby sending her a text that said you made this choice against my wish. seven months pregnant the 27-year-old moved to new york city and enrolled in columbia university . when the baby was born, both parents fought for custody. the new york court called mckenna reprehenceable for moving to the east coast while pregnant. the court finding it unjustifiable conduct. a family court was given jurisdiction. a controversial decision.

>> when she moved to new york and the baby being born in new york , the jurisdiction certainly should be in new york . and what the family court judge did was he seeded jurisdiction to california .

>> miller was granted custody. the county hill skier and his new wife volleyball player morgan beck regularly posted pictures of the baby but mckenna appealed the original ruling that sent the case to california and won. a panel of judges concluded she had every right to move to new york city while pregnant. the women's rights group that backed her worried the case would set legal precedent for all pregnant women .

>> the issue is whether a woman because she exercised her rights to travel, to get an education can be denied access to a court of proper jurisdiction.

>>> next month, both parents will be in court fighting for custody. their baby still caught in the middle . for today, stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york .

>>> lisa bloom is today's legal analyst. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> let's talk with the simple idea of jurisdiction. she moved to new york while she was pregnant. she had this baby here in new york . why would a new york family court seed jurisdiction to a california court ?

>> the lower court ruling from that judge is really disturbing. it says that she was irresponsible and reprehenceable for appropriating the baby moving when she was pregnant and that the california court where bode miller already filed a case would have jurisdiction. as we know, that's now been overturned. jurisdiction is normally where the baby is born.

>> let's go back to the statement you just eluded to. this new york court in issuing this decision on jurisdiction said she was irresponsible and her actions were reprehencable. give me your take on this.

>> that's right. pregnant women don't have any legal obligation to get permission from the father of their baby before they travel. they have the same right to move state to state as they wish and, in this case, this is a very sympathetic young woman . she got a full scholarship to an ivy league university and she moved to new york for that purpose.

>> but on the other hand bode miller is the father of this child. does the court have, i guess, the requirement of protecting his father's rights location-wise and geographically geographically.

>> not to the extent of controlling where he lives. he will probably get joint custody to the child. he has the right to visit his child and see his child as much as possible. what he doesn't have is the right to control where the mother lives.

>> this case is getting a lot of attention because bode miller is a high profile athlete. how will what happens in this case impact other cases like it around the country?

>> well, it's already spawned a court of appeals decision in new york . new york is a state that typically sets precedent for many other states. people look to the decisions in new york . i think this is an important ruling for the rights of pregnancies nan t pregnant women . thank you for your opinions on this. i appreciate it.