The South Dakota state legislature took the first step in changing the state's child custody laws.
A shared-parenting bill passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee. No one from the public spoke against it. On the flip side, more than 20 people spoke in support of it.
The bill would require judges to consider shared parenting if one of the parents requests it. It also lays out standards for judges to use when considering the request.
Supporters of the bill argue those standards will encourage good behavior among parents since they know their behavior will be used to judge them in the custody case. They also argue it will make the process more fair because parents in Rapid City will be judged by the same standards as those in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen or anywhere else in the state.
The bill wouldn’t guarantee a 50/50 split for parents. Judges can still set the percentages as they see fit.
The bill now moves to the Senate floor.