In South Dakota, can a spouse’s conviction of domestic abuse or assault be considered in awarding child custody?

Yes. In awarding custody, a court must consider (1) a conviction of domestic abuse as defined in SDCL 25-10-1(1); (2) a conviction of assault against a person as defined in SDCL 25-10-1(2),  except against any person related by consanguinity, but not living in the same household; or (3) a  history of domestic abuse.

A conviction or history of domestic abuse creates a rebuttable presumption that awarding custody to the abusive parent is not in the child’s best interests.

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones