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Unmarried Fathers May Have Problems with Child Custody in South Dakota

— April 29, 2022

The birth of a child to parents who are not married is different than a child with married parents under South Dakota laws.

Family law attorneys objectively address gut-wrenching legal issues specific to child custody, that often exacerbate negative emotions and irrational actions by family members. They may skillfully communicate with opposing counsel, perform mediations to iron out disputes over child custody and support, and legally represent parties in court to ensure their interests are reflected in filed legal documents that protect each parent. 

Child custody

When minor children are involved in the divorce process, action is required to establish who the child will live with, or if the child’s time will be shared among both parents. Child custody lawyers will explain South Dakota child custody laws to clients, as they pertain to both parents’ legal responsibility to the children.  Of course, divorce is not the only situation where child custody matters will arise.  Unmarried parents may have difficulties with child custody unless they hire experienced child custody lawyers as these battles are best addressed with the expertise of legal counsel, because the outcomes can be devastating for families.  Whether parents are married, or unmarried, It is usually best to make a comprehensive time-sharing agreement that is agreed upon by both parents and file it with the court.  If one parent is not adhering to the agreed-upon plan, it may be best to hire child custody attorneys who can file a formal order to request changes for custody. 

Married and unmarried parents

While both married and unmarried parents have impact on their children’s lives in South Dakota, unmarried parents may be prevented from making specific decision regarding their health and education, and when they might be able to spend time with them.  The birth of a child to parents who are not married is different than a child with married parents under South Dakota laws.  It is very important for parents to discuss concerns regarding child custody when their marital status is a concern.  South Dakota law usually awards custody of children born to unmarried parents to the mother.  The unmarried father can only gain custody through court action proving that he has a strong parental bond with the child and that the mother cannot effectively fulfill her responsibilities to the child.  The court’s ability to uphold custody beyond visitation is difficult.  A seasoned child custody attorney may be your best option if you are unmarried and concerned about the time you spend with your children in South Dakota.  

Child support

Father holding a child
Father holding a child; image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay,

Child support guidelines are based on different formulas addressing income, and expenses relevant to each parent for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines will represent the funding that is required to maintain a healthy standard of living for the minor children to a divorce action, or in the case of single parenting.   

Seek legal counsel

A comprehensive time sharing agreement that addresses the facets of raising children as divorced parents, or as parents who never married, may increase the ability to maintain a stable family future with limited resentment.  It is important to seek assistance from child custody attorneys who will utilize their legal skill to draft an amenable agreement regarding child custody issues in South Dakota.  


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