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Child Custody
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Child Custody in South Dakota

South Dakota parents whose relationship has ended will have to reach agreement on key issues—such as custody and visitation—related to their minor children. Child custody attorneys can help parents negotiate a parenting plan (also known as a child custody agreement) and represent the parents in court.

South Dakota Child Custody Basics

Child custody is divided into two categories in South Dakota: Legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody refers to which parent has responsibility for making significant life decisions when raising a child. These would include decisions related to schooling, religion, medical treatment and other issues. Custody may be sole, meaning one parent has complete responsibility for these decisions, or jointly shared by both parents.

Physical custody refers to a child's primary residence. Like legal custody, the physical custody may be sole (the child lives primarily with one parent) or joint (the child splits his or her time between each parent's residence). When one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent will typically have visitation rights.

Both parents are expected to contribute to the financial costs associated with raising a child. After the court issues a child support order, the South Dakota Department of Social Services' Division of Child Support can help process child support payments and enforce existing orders.

If a child is born to unmarried parents and if the father hasn't voluntarily acknowledged paternity, then either the mother or the presumed father can ask the appropriate South Dakota Circuit Court to make a paternity determination.

Find & Hire Local South Dakota Child Custody Lawyers

Whether you live in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen or elsewhere in South Dakota, can help connect you with child custody lawyers in your area. To use our fast and free service, complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. After you answer a few easy questions, we'll quickly put you in touch with a local attorney.