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Shared Parenting Bill One Step Away From Signature

February 26, 2014, 5:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Shared Parenting Bill One Step Away From Signature
PIERRE, SD -

For any bill, the path through the South Dakota Legislature can be a long and tedious one, but the shared parenting bill has quickly moved through the Senate with limited opposition and appears to be on a similar path in the House.

It started on January 22 and has leapt over every hurdle since. After Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee passed the bill 12 to one, only 70 members of the full House stand between this bill and a possible signature.

If the Governor signs it, judges would have legal authority to grant equal custody to both parents, something that South Dakota law doesn't currently do.

"I think the best interest of the child standard creates a bias because it gives judges so much discretion and they have a bias that mom is the caregiver and dad pays for the children," Casey Wilson said.

However, some lawyers argue that shared parenting is already happening in the state, even without a law in place.

There is one bigger issue the courts will focus on when it comes to shared parenting,

"What's most important is that you be able to co-parent with that other parent, and I don't think a lot of people in shared parenting get that. So, in some ways, the parents are important because that's what it takes to make it work," attorney Deb Voigt said.

That will all be part of the debate as this bill's journey nears its end.

The shared parenting bill could be heard on the House floor as early as Thursday.

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