Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


South Dakota Divorce Custody


According to South Dakota divorce custody laws, the best interests of the child must never be compromised. All measures are taken to safeguard the welfare and safety of the child and to ensure that the final custody ruling is not detrimental to the child. Following guidelines are adhered to while awarding custody in South Dakota:
  • Keeping the best interests of the child in mind, courts try to ensure that the parent who bonds most with the child and provides emotional support to the child must be preferred for custody. The wishes and interests of the child are analyzed and the priorities of the parents are determined so as to assess the quality time that a parent can give to his/her child.

  • The parent who can offer a stable family unit and provide a community, to which the child is familiar with, is generally preferred for awarding child custody.

  • Judges in South Dakota prefer joint custody as it provides an opportunity for the child to grow in the love and care of both the parents. If it is in the best interests of the child, then one parent gets the physical custody of the child while the other parent gets the visitation rights. However, in such cases legal joint custody of the child is given to both the parents so that they both are authorized to take decisions on the child’s education, medical health, religion etc.

  • SD divorce custody cases are generally settled by first assessing if any parent is detrimental to the growth of the child. For that purpose, cases of child neglect or child abuse and physical violence against the child or any such occurrence in the family is noted. Its impact on the child is determined to assess how important it is to have supervised visitations in such a scenario. Supervision is done by a third known party to both the parents or as ordered by the court. This is to ensure safety and security of the child. If the presence of non-custodial parent is found to be detrimental to the child’s well-being then the visitation rights may be forfeited and the non-custodial parent may be asked to only extend child support.

  • While awarding custody of the child, gender of the parent who gets the custody is not very important nor the race of the parents. Both the parents have equal chances of getting the custody of the child.

  • SD child support is again an important matter to be addressed. The incomes of both the parents are pooled in to determine how much proportion should be allotted to the child to meet his/her financial needs. Child support can be terminated when the child graduates from High school or has turned 18 years.


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