How does a South Dakota court determine “parental fitness”?

Some of the facts a court looks at to determine “parental fitness” are: (1) parent’s mental and physical health; (2) parent’s ability to provide the child with protection, food, clothing, medical care, and other basic needs; (3) parent’s ability to give the child love, affection, guidance, education and to impart the family’s religion or creed; (4) parent’s willingness to maturely encourage and provide frequent and meaningful contact between the child and the other parent; (5) parent’s commitment to prepare the child for responsible adulthood, as well as to insure that the child experiences a fulfilling childhood; and (6) parent’s exemplary modeling so that the child witnesses firsthand what it means to be a good parent, a loving spouse, and a responsible citizen.  

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Estate Planning & Family Law Attorney