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April 28, 2014 07:00 AM

Shared Parenting Law Starts On July 1st

Even after the shared parenting bill was signed into law in March, supporters of the custody option are still looking forward to one more date on the calendar- July 1st.

The legislative fight for shared parenting started years before this year's session, but this was the year a measure was passed.

Starting July 1st, courts across South Dakota will have the option of granting shared parenting to those who fit a specific list of factors, similar to those that are already a part of the child custody option. For Casey Wilson and the South Dakota Shared Parenting Group, this was a very long process that has taken them several years to achieve.

"To be a part of that. We're actually helping to change things for families for 50 and maybe 100 years. That's a pretty neat feeling," Casey Wilson said.

After looking at the new rules that are in place, Circuit Court Judge Doug Hoffman says there isn't much change from the child custody rules that are already in place. It just offers one more legal recourse for judges to consider.

"I've entered decrees for shared parenting on many, many cases, but there may be some judges that were uncomfortable with it and so this bill now will give them the authority and the guidance to make those considerations," Judge Hoffman said.

He says it may take some time before we notice how much actually changes once the law is on the books.

It will certainly be something that parents are paying attention to in the coming months, especially those who are considering a return to court.

Coming up on tonight's Eye on KELOLAND at 10, we will show you how a separation has torn a family in Brookings apart and what options they will have when July 1st arrives.

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