SDLRC - 2020 Senate Bill 121 - SD Legislature revise parenting guidelines and repeal Supreme Court authority to promulgate guidelines.
An Act to revise parenting guidelines and repeal
Supreme Court authority to promulgate guidelines.
by the Legislature of the State of South Dakota:
That   25-4A-10 be REPEALED.
Supreme Court to promulgate guidelines for noncustodial parenting
That   25-4A-9 be AMENDED:
Standard guidelines defined.
For the purposes of      25-4A-9
25-4A-16.1, inclusive, the term, standard guidelines,
means the parenting guidelines established by
court rules promulgated by the South Dakota Supreme Court pursuant to
25-4A-29 through 25-4A-34.3.
Section 3. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-29. Parenting arrangements to minimize harm to
children   recommendations for parenting arrangements.
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, separation, or both. 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. If
parental maturity, personality, and communication skills are
adequate, the ideal arrangement is equal, or approximately equal,
time with both parents, since that provides the greatest stability
for the children. 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 that maximizes the children's contact
with each parent, minimalizes conflict, and raises parent and child
awareness 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 and are
enforceable as a court order. If a parent's time with the children
becomes an issue in court, the judge shall set whatever parenting
plan best meets the needs of the children.
Section 4. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30. Parents speaking about other parent   Contact with
relatives   Relocation of parent.
parent shall always avoid speaking negatively about the other parent
and shall firmly discourage such conduct by relatives or friends.
Each parent shall speak in positive terms about the other parent in
the presence of the children. Each parent shall encourage the
children to respect the other parent. Children should never be used
by one parent to spy or report on the other parent. The basic rules
of conduct and discipline established by the custodial parent should
be the baseline standard for both parents and any step-parents, and
consistently enforced by all caregivers, so that the children do not
receive mixed messages.
will benefit from continued contact with all relatives and friends on
both sides of the family for whom they feel affection. Such
relationships must be protected and encouraged. But relatives, like
parents, need to avoid being critical of either parent in front of
the children. Parents should have their children maintain ties with
both the maternal and paternal relatives. Usually the children will
visit the paternal relatives during times when the children are with
their father and the maternal relatives during times when they are
with their mother.
cases where both parents reside in the same community at the time of
separation, and then one parent leaves the area, thus changing the
parenting plan, the court shall consider imposing on the parent who
moved the travel costs for the children necessary to facilitate
future time with the children; however, the court shall also consider
other factors such as the economic circumstances of the parents and
the reasons prompting the move. Before relocating the children, the
custodial parent is required to comply with South Dakota's statutory
forty-five-day written notice requirements.
Section 5. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.1. Parental communication.
shall always keep each other advised of their home and work addresses
and telephone numbers. Whenever feasible, all communication
concerning the children must be conducted directly between the
parents in person, or by telephone, or at their residences, or via
email or text message. Absent an emergency, communication should not
occur at a parent's place of employment.
Section 6. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.2. A child's academic and medical information.
parents shall ensure the other parent has the name, address, and
telephone number of the school where any child attends and must
authorize the other parent to communicate concerning the child
directly with the school and with the child's doctors and other
professionals, outside the presence of the custodial parent. Both
parents have an obligation to contact the school to ensure receipt of
school report cards, notices, and similar information, so that each
parent can remain involved with their child's education. Both parents
shall be listed on all of the child's records. Each parent shall
immediately notify the other parent of any medical emergencies or
serious illnesses of a child. Access to records and information
pertaining to a minor child, including medical, dental, orthodontia
and similar health care, and school records must be made equally
available to both parents. Counseling, psychiatric, psychotherapy,
and other records subject to confidentiality or privilege must only
be released in accordance with state and federal law; but, if
available to one parent, must be available to both. The parents shall
make reasonable efforts to ensure that the name and address of the
other parent is listed on all such records. If the child is taking
medications, both parents shall provide a sufficient amount and
appropriate instructions. If either parent enrolls the child in any
social, beneficent, religious, or peer group activity, service,
benefit, or program for which written application is required, the
enrolling parent must provide the name and address of the other
parent on, or supplementary to, the application. This provision does
not apply to insurance or annuities. The parent enrolling the child
shall advise the other parent of the name of the coach, director, and
organization providing the activity along with their contact
information. The custodial parent shall notify the noncustodial
parent of all school or other events, such as church and sports,
involving parental participation. The noncustodial parent also has an
obligation to contact the activity director to ensure receipt of
information such as practice schedules, games, and other similar
at academic or disciplinary meetings pertaining to the minor child
shall be limited to the parents and the respective school
professionals. Others may not attend such meetings without advance,
written mutual parental agreement or court order.
Section 7. That a NEW SECTION be added:
custodial/noncustodial arrangement only, the custodial parent shall
send an appropriate supply of children's clothing with the children,
that must be returned clean, when reasonably possible, with the
children by the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent shall
advise, as far in advance as possible, of any special activities so
that appropriate clothing belonging to the children may be sent. The
custodial parent shall, upon request, send one set of higher quality
clothing so that the noncustodial parent can take the children to
church on Sunday. It is recommended that the noncustodial parent have
some basic clothing available in that parent's home to ensure that
all of the children's basic needs are met.
Section 8. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.4. Withholding support or time with the children.
time with the children nor child support is to be withheld because of
either parent's failure to comply with a court order. Only the court
may enter sanctions for noncompliance. Children have a right both to
support and, absent abuse or other safety concerns, time with the
noncustodial parent, neither of which is dependent upon the other. In
other words, no support does not mean the children will spend no time
with the noncustodial parent, and no time with the noncustodial
parent does not mean no support needs to be paid to the custodial
parent. If there is a violation of either the parenting order or a
support order, the exclusive remedy is to apply to the court for
Section 9. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.5. Modifications in parenting plan.
this is a specific schedule, the parents are expected to fairly
modify the parenting plan when family necessities, illnesses, or
commitments reasonably so require. The requesting parent shall act in
good faith and give as much notice as circumstances permit.
Section 10. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.6. Parent's vacation with children.
otherwise specified in a court order or agreed upon by the parents,
each parent is entitled to a vacation with the children for a
reasonable period of time, usually equal. For custodial/noncustodial
arrangements, the custodial parent should plan a vacation during the
time when the noncustodial parent is not scheduled to spend time with
the children. Parents are encouraged to coordinate vacation plans.
Section 11. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.7. Insurance forms.
parent who has medical insurance coverage on the children shall
supply to the other parent an insurance card and, as applicable,
insurance forms and a list of insurer-approved or HMO-qualified
health care providers in the area where the other parent is residing.
Except in emergencies, the parent taking the children to a doctor,
dentist, or other provider not so approved or qualified may be
required to pay the additional cost thus created. However, if there
is a change in insurance, which requires a change in medical care
providers and a child has a chronic illness, thoughtful consideration
should be given by the parents to what is more important, such as
allowing the child to remain with the original provider or the
economic consequences of changing carriers. If there is an obligation
to pay medical expenses, the parent responsible for paying must be
promptly furnished with the bill, and where applicable, the
explanation of benefits, by the other parent. The parents shall
cooperate in submitting bills to the appropriate insurance carrier.
Thereafter, the parent responsible for paying the balance of the bill
shall make arrangements directly with the health care provider and
shall inform the other parent of such arrangements. Insurance refunds
must be promptly turned over to the parent who paid the bill for
which the refund was received.
Section 12. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.8. Child support abatement.
support abatements shall be liberally considered and applied in
situations where the custodial parent's income is greater than or
equal to the South Dakota median household income and the
noncustodial parent has a consistent history of exercising that
parent's time with the children.
Section 13. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.9. Noncustodial parent's missed time with the children.
scheduled time with the children cannot occur due to events beyond
either parent's control, such as illness of the parent exercising
time with the children, then a mutually agreeable substituted date
shall be arranged, as quickly as possible. Each parent shall timely
advise the other parent when scheduled time with the children cannot
be exercised. Missed time with the children may not be unreasonably
Section 14. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.10. Parenting time based on child's age.
with very young children and adolescents, it usually makes sense for
all the children to share the same schedule of parenting time with
the noncustodial parent. Having brothers or sisters along can be an
important support for children. Infants have special needs that may
well prevent a parent from being with both the infant and the older
children at the same time. Teenagers' special needs for peer
involvement and for some control of their own lives may place them on
different schedules from their younger brothers and sisters. Because
it is intended that the noncustodial parent's time with the children
be a shared experience between siblings and, unless these guidelines,
a court order, or circumstances such as age, illness, or a particular
event suggests otherwise, all the children should participate
together in spending time with the noncustodial parent.
Section 15. That a NEW SECTION be added:
25-4A-30.11. Communication with children.
parent may call, text, email, or Skype, or use similar technology, to
communicate with the children at reasonable times and with reasonable
frequency during those periods the children are with the other
parent. The children may, of course, call, text, email, or Skype, or
use similar technology, to communicate with either parent, at
reasonable hours and with reasonable frequencies. Parents are
cautioned that communication between the parent and the children
should not be so excessive as to interfere with the other parent's
time, nor used to undermine the other parent's authority. During long
vacations, the parent with whom the children are on vacation is
required to make the children available for telephone calls with the
other parent at least every three days. At all other times, the
parent the children are with may not refuse to answer the other
parent's telephone calls or turn off the telephone in order to deny
the other parent telephone contact. If a parent uses an answering
machine or cell phone voicemail, messages left should be returned by
a telephone call to that parent as soon as possible. Parents should
agree on a specified time for calls to the children so that the
children will be made available no less than three days per week.
Either parent may provide an any child with a cell phone. In such
instances, it is not appropriate for a parent to use restrictions
from talking to the other parent on that cell phone as a means of
punishing the child subject to a parent's ability to set reasonable
restrictions on cell phone use while the child is present in that
parent's home. Communication between a parent and child may not be
censored, recorded, or monitored, absent a court order. With older
children, establishing an email account for communication with the
other parent is recommended and should likewise not be read or
monitored by the other parent without court permission. Email
communication or text messaging between parents is also helpful in
keeping the other parent informed about the children. Abuse, neglect,
criminal activity, or protection orders m