What is the purpose of the South Dakota Parenting Guidelines?

The South Dakota Parenting Guidelines' "Preamble" states:

A powerful cause of stress, suffering, and maladjustment in children of

divorce or separation is not simply the divorce or separation itself, but rather the

continuing conflict between their parents before, during, and after the divorce and/or

separation. To minimize harm to their children, parents should agree on a

parenting arrangement that is most conducive to the children having frequent and

meaningful contact with both parents, with as little conflict as possible. When

parental maturity, personality, and communication skills are adequate, the ideal

arrangement is reasonable time with the noncustodial parent upon reasonable

notice, since that provides the greatest flexibility. The next best arrangement is a

detailed parenting agreement made by the parents to fit their particular needs and,

more importantly, the needs of their children. It is recommended that an annual

calendar be prepared so that the parents and the children are aware of the

parenting schedule. If the parents are unable to agree on their own Parenting Plan,

however, these Guidelines become mandatory and will be used as their Parenting

Plan. SDCL 25-4A-10, 25-4A-11. In the event a parent’s time with the children

becomes an issue in court, the judge will set whatever Parenting Plan best meets

the needs of the children.

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