Welcome to “The South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting” Website. Although our organization is in its infancy, I believe it will continue to serve a strong and needed purpose in our great State of South Dakota. That is, to promote and encourage equal shared parenting which is in the best long-term interest of our children.
For many of us -- fathers, mothers, custodial or noncustodial fathers and mothers, grandparents, relatives, men and women, and especially children, the road through the challenge of separation and divorce has been a difficult and long walk of faith. To be put in a position where a person has to defend his or her right to parent throughout the divorce and legal process is wrong. To, in essence, take a certain degree of fatherhood or motherhood away from a parent and pass the majority of this parenthood to one or other parent, is wrong. To believe that mothers and fathers cannot equally nurture and love their children is wrong. To go through a legal process where one parent needs to show that they are better than the other parent or needs to tear the other parent down to “win” is wrong. To pit two loving parents against each other to “win” custody of their children who love them both equally is wrong. To spend thousands of dollars to accomplish this, simply is wrong. Can you tell me there are any “winners” throughout and after the divorce process? Who is hurt most in this process. Parents? Children? Extended Family? I contend, there must be a better way.
I believe, as many do, that a presumption of equal shared parenting (i.e. 50/50) is the better way. An assumption that is made at the onset provided both parents are able to parent their children. It seems to me that most parents are able to equally parent their children prior to the separation, so why not during the separation and after the divorce?
As I have stated before, children need BOTH parents for their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being. Children have the right to shared parenting, equal access and opportunity with both parents, the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents, and the right to have decisions made by the use of both parents' wisdom, judgment and experience.1 I propose, anything less is not in the best interest of our children. Children should not have to forfeit these rights when the parents divorce.
Enjoy our website. Links are added frequently. Look around, learn more and I hope you will become a member of our initiative to minimize the effects of separation and divorce for our children, and for future generations across South Dakota.
Steve Mathis, Founder
The South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting
1 "Although the dispute is symbolized by a 'versus' which signifies two adverse parties at opposite poles of a line, there is in fact a third party whose interests and rights make of the line a triangle.
That person, the child who is not an official party to the lawsuit but whose well-being is in the eye of the controversy, has a right to shared parenting when both are equally suited to provide it.
Inherent in the express public policy is a recognition of the child's right to equal access and opportunity with both parents, the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents, the right to have major decisions made by the application of both parents' wisdom, judgment and experience. The child does not forfeit these rights when the parents divorce."
--Presiding Judge Dorothy T. Beasley,
Georgia Court of Appeals,
"In the Interest of A.R.B., a Child," July 2, 1993
Note: This information is offered for educational purposes only. Nothing here or elsewhere on this site should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney.