Bill would make shared physical custody the default in South Dak - KOTA Territory News

Bill would make shared physical custody the default in South Dakota


A bill that would require parents who are divorced or no longer in a relationship to split the custody of their children equally is headed for the Senate State Affairs Committee.  Senate Bill 125 would grant parents shared physical custody of children in cases where both the father and the mother have joint legal custody.

By default, the non-custodial parent who has joint legal custody of a child, but not joint physical custody, is allowed a percentage of time that is less than the custodial parent.  SB 125 would change the default, granting equal time for both parents.

Family law attorney Linda Lee Viken, who represents both moms and dads, says the legislation would create problems for both parents and children.  "This law makes a presumption as to what is in the best interest of a child," she said. "I happen to believe that shared parenting can work well when the parents get along and you have to be able to respect each other as individuals and parents," Viken continued.
Proponents of the bill say the assumption should be that both parents are fit parents unless there is a compelling reason that would show they're not.

The Committee will hear testimony on the bill Monday.

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