Sioux Falls Child Custody Attorneys
Representing the Best Interests of You & Your Child
Whether you are going through a divorce or you are in an unmarried relationship with a child, one of the most challenging issues can be assigning custody of children. It is always best if you and your child's other parent can come to an agreement concerning this matter to avoid the stress and strife of a trial. If the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding custody (or other issues), the agreement can be submitted to the judge for approval. Once the agreement has been adopted by an order of the court, it becomes binding and enforceable. If you and the other parent cannot agree on the matter, however, the court will make the decision based on evidence presented at hearings.
Regardless of where you may be in the process of determining this issue, it is advantageous to have trusted legal counsel. Having the legal advice and support of a professional can go a long ways towards easing the tension and anxiety that will likely occur. You can turn to Ver Beek Law, Prof. L.L.C. for responsive and skilled legal support. Our Sioux Falls child custody lawyers will ensure that you fully understand the issues at hand, help you negotiate a fair agreement, and aggressively represent you in court should that be appropriate.
Contact our office to schedule a consultation by calling today.
Types of Child Custody in South Dakota
Legal vs. Physical Custody
- Legal custody is when a parent has the right to make important life decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions would include education, extracurricular activities, religious activities, medical choices, etc.
- Physical custody is when a parent is responsible for the physical care of the child, such as where the child will live.
Sole vs. Joint Custody
- Sole custody is when only one parent is given custody. A parent can have sole legal custody, sole physical custody, or both.
- Joint custody is when both parents must share the rights and responsibilities that come along with having custody. Parents can have joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both.
How Is Child Custody Decided in South Dakota?
South Dakota courts make a determination on child custody based on the standard of what is in the best interests of the child. Generally, joint custody is preferred so as to maintain a continuing relationship with both parents. The child's own wishes regarding custody may be recognized by the court when the child reaches a particular age. Preferential consideration is not given to mothers simply because of their sex — both parents are considered equally.
Courts will make custody and visitation decisions based on many factors.
Common factors influencing child custody decisions include:
- The physical and mental health conditions of both parents
- Who has been the child’s primary caretaker during the marriage
- How the child’s school and community relationships will be affected
- How the child’s relationships with other household members will be affected
- Evidence of any parental abuse or extreme discipline
- Evidence of any parental substance abuse
Once custody and visitation arrangements have become an order of the court, they are deemed enforceable. Child custody and parenting time have the ability to be modified by the court. Parents must petition the court for modifications.
South Dakota Custody Laws - Unmarried Parents
For unmarried parents, the mother has sole custody of the child unless the matter is brought before the court and paternity is established. It is possible for the father of the child to be granted custody if the court finds it would be in the child's best interests.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Modify a Child Custody or Visitation Order?
While it is possible to represent yourself in petitions to modify a child custody or visitation order, our Sioux Falls custody lawyers can guide you through the process and make sure you prepare the petition according to South Dakota laws.
Let our skilled Sioux Falls child custody attorneys at Ver Beek Law, Prof. L.L.C. help you resolve your case. Contact us at (605) 250-2227 today.
Honest & Straightforward
We pride ourselves on being trusted advisors. If we feel pursuing something could negatively impact your case, it's our job to let you know.
Legal matters can impact many areas of your life; therefore, we help our clients identify potential snares and give them the tools they need.
No case is the same. We take the time to listen to our clients and really understand their goals and the future they are trying to build.
You can be confident our attorneys and staff have the experience and knowledge to help you make the right decisions with your legal matter.