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Hello, this is Steve Mathis for the South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting.  Senate Bill 60, originally a shared parenting bill, passed out of the Senate last week (without Shared Parenting) and will be before the House Judiciary Committee next Wednesday, February 19 at 8 am. (Tentative - confirmed this Friday)

We need your help. We need people around the state to call this Committee in support of passing this bill WITH Shared Parenting for the benefit of the 2100 separated and divorced children each year in South Dakota and for their caring and fit parents who greatly influence their lives.  This committee will also be taking testimony of support and it would be great if you would join us in Pierre next Wednesday to send a strong message.  Please call me at 605-260-3000 if you plan to attend and/or testify your support.

We believe most children need both parents to be actively involved in their lives and children WILL greatly benefit.  Research completely supports this.

Currently, in South Dakota, we typically assume the mother is the best parent, we assume the father is not.  We assume that children only need 4 overnights and 1 or 2 -  two - three hour visits during the week with the noncustodial parent.  The state says right up front, at the time of filing for divorce that one parent is better than the other.  

Our divorce laws have a great incentive for one person (usually the mother) to receive custody - namely complete control over the child's upbringing and over the other parent ability to parent their child, the majority of the parenting time with the children, and receiving child support.

These incentives for “getting custody” must end.  We must no longer allow parents to compete and use the children as bargaining chips for custody.  We must no longer automatically allow one parent to say “NO” to an equal shared parenting schedule if the other parent wants to share equal time with their children.  Typically, one parent says NO to the marriage….we cannot allow that same person to say “NO” to shared parenting.  This is wrong and not in the best interest of most children in South Dakota who have two parents who just want to share equally in the care and responsibility for parenting their loved ones after separation or divorce.   

It is a perverse system in our state that promotes fighting, hostility, he-said-she said litigation and even domestic abuse and the Children Lose!

Suppose, we had a Shared Parenting law in our State that said, if you are a good and fit parent and you really want equal shared parenting, you will have it, even if one of you does not want to share?  Even if one of you says no.

Suppose when a parent goes to their attorney, the Attorney says…Steve, you know what is great about South Dakota….They just passed a law which provides for Shared Parenting.  They believe that children of separation and divorce need both parents in their lives as much as possible and there are so many benefits to your children for this.  I can see you are fit and loving and just want to have equal responsibility for your children.  So, you really don't have argue and fight over the children unless there is a compelling concern with the other parent's care of the children.

All we have to do is focus on an equal parenting schedule with your spouse, as much as practical. Perhaps you will need mediation so that you and your spouse are equal partners in raising your children after your unfortunate divorce.  The question is, how are you going to do this and I am here to help.


And what will the children say, typically, I have two parents who love me, I have two homes where I am loved and I get to spend equal time with my mom and dad.

Where did all that hostility and competition go?  When you put two parents on the same level and empower them, what is there to fight over.

This approach is not good for the attorneys, counselors, psychologists and others who make big bucks from the “Divorce Industry” but it is good for fathers, mothers and ESPECIALLY children.  It is good for families.

We need your help!  Please call your Representatives and Governor Rounds now, especially the House Judiciary Committee members.  The need to hear that SB 60 should pass WITH Shared Parenting back in the bill.  Do it for the benefit of your children, grandchildren, relatives and friends.   Call 773-3851 in Pierre to get a hold of your representatives and call 773-3212 to get a hold of the Governor.

Thank you for your time and Have a Great Day.

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