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Dear Senator,

As you know controversial Senate Bill 60, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today. This bill has drastically been altered so that it is not a shared parenting bill anymore. This is disappointing and not in the best interest of our children in South Dakota.

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. Opponents talk about child support concerns, grant money lost…they say the bill is “bad, bad, bad”. They haven't considered the money parents will save with no need to litigate (bad for the divorce industry of course), better compliance in paid child support due to more time with their children (supported by research), and money the State will save as the correctional population drops because children have two active and loving parents in their lives (common sense). Shared parenting is “good, good, good” for children.

Wisconsin recognizes the benefits of a shared parenting law that presumes a parenting schedule that allows regularly occurring, meaningful periods of physical placement with each parent and that maximizes the amount of time the child may spend with each parent. South Dakota does not.

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.

I have attached final information on Shared Parenting for your review. These include:
Marsha B. Freeman: Reconnecting the Family: A Need for Sensible Visitation Schedules for Children of Divorce. Whittier Law Review, Spring, 2001 - Excerpts.

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

Again, I invite you to visit our website at http://sdsharedparent.tripod.com for an extensive variety of information on Shared Parenting.

On behalf of over 300 persons in South Dakota who believe, in a presumption of joint physical custody and a presumed parenting schedule that maximizes the amount of time the child may spend with each parent unless detrimental to the child, I am asking for your active support of SB 60 with an amendment to Section 1 so that this bill becomes a true "shared parenting" bill:

The standard guidelines shall reflect a parenting schedule that allows the child to have regularly occurring, meaningful periods of physical placement with each parent and that maximizes the amount of time the child may spend with each parent, taking into account geographic separation and accommodations for different households. These guidelines shall provide".

Certainly, 95% of fathers and mothers in South Dakota are as fit, loving and able as Wisconsin’s parents of separation or divorce.

Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration to this bill.

Respectfully submitted,
Steven D. Mathis


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