South Dakota legislative committee defeats child custody bill

February 4, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A committee of South Dakota lawmakers has rejected a proposal to push judges to equally split the custody of children between divorced parents, after opponents argued it could tie victims of abuse to their former partners.

The issue of custody in divorce proceedings has become a recurring battle in the Legislature, driven by Republican Rep. Tom Pischke of Dell Rapids after his own contentious divorce and custody fight.

The bill would have required divorcing parents to prove to a judge that equal custody was not in the best interests of the child.

Opponents say the change would have allowed abusers to exert continued control over their victims.