Dear Governor Rounds,
It was a pleasure to meet with your assistant, Deb Bowman, last week. During our meeting, I provided her a compilation of information relevant to the benefits of shared parenting and the original SB60. I asked for a time that a group of Shared Parenting proponents could meet with you regarding this issue. She told me she would present this information to you and discuss our concerns. She also told me that she would get back to me the next day regarding this issue. She has yet to contact me.
SB60, passed today out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been so watered down that it is not a shared parenting bill anymore. This is disappointing and not in the best interest of our children in South Dakota.
I understand that you and your administration are opposed to this legislative shared parenting in South Dakota. From the testimony of Social Services, it is clear that the opponent's issue is about "money" and not what is best for the children of South Dakota and their parents, who have a great impact on their well being.
Even if only one child in South Dakota does not have maximized access to their parents after separation or divorce, because of our perverse "custody system", it is one to many. I have two children myself affected by this system. In reality, I am confident there are thousands of children in South Dakota over the past years, who have been adversely affected by our State's custody laws and the winner-loser, gender bias mentality prevalent in our court system.
Please review the material delivered to you via Deb Bowman regarding this issue and reconsider your position.
I have also enclosed additional information as an attachment (each is also linked to a website) to further assist you in understanding this important, and controversial issue of Shared Parenting for South Dakota. These include:
Critical Thinking for a Complex Issue -- Senate Bill 60 “Thinking Outside the Box”
What Are the South Dakota Visitation Guidelines? Why is the Parenting Schedule considered Outdated?
Marsha B. Freeman: Reconnecting the Family: A Need for Sensible Visitation Schedules for Children of Divorce. Whittier Law Review, Spring, 2001.
Donald C. Hubin. Parental Rights and Due Process - Journal of Law and Family Studies - University of Utah College of Law, Vol 1, n1, 1999
A personal response which explains partially why I believe providing Shared Parenting Is Important to Children and Parents in South Dakota
I invite you to visit our website at http://sdsharedparent.tripod.com for an extensive variety of information on Shared Parenting.
We look forward to meeting with you in the near future regarding our concerns. Thank you for your time and diligent consideration. Respectfully submitted, Steven Mathis, President The South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting