HB 1255 — the bill that would change SD’s child custody laws has gotten out of Senate committee and waits for a vote from the full Senate.
From my inbox, supporters of HB 1255 say:
Unfortunately, children in South Dakota who get caught up in a divorce are the victims of a cruel and unforgiving child custody system. The impact of divorce of in our state is magnified because of antiquated child custody laws.
South Dakota is one of only 13 states that still maintain a non-custodial/custodial child custody system. ?what this means is that the courts will give one parent primary custody of the children, while the other parent is marginalized into a weekend visitor.
This system is exacerbated by an institutional bias in our courts that continues to fight against a system of shared parenting.
After thoroughly researching this area I discovered some alarming statistics regarding the children of divorce*:
- Twice as likely to drop out of school as those from intact homes
- Three times as apt to have a baby out of wedlock
- Five-fold more likely to be in poverty
- 12 times more apt to be incarcerated
Empirical research, scores of academic studies, reams of data, and just good old common-sense tell us that children need two parents; even after their parents are separated and divorced.
Opponents raised objections during the Senate committee hearing and the committee did make some adjustments to the bill to give a judge more wiggle room in making determinations in cases.
For me — and for parents in this unfortunate situation — the first priority needs to be the welfare of the children.
Supporters of HB 1255 are encouraging fellow supporters to contact their Senators before the floor vote early next week.