South Dakota Laws Are Not The “Best Interest Of The Child”

Here is another editorial in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on January 14, 2014 written by Casey Wilson. Here is the article

Our state legislators will discuss a lot of topics in the coming months. Many issues are heating up now. One of those is what is in the “best interest of the child” when it comes to divorce and custody arrangements, which is preached from high by lawmakers, attorneys and judges.

I have some questions for our lawmakers, the media and the public as we begin a new legislative session. When you have two loving, fit parents who both were part of the kid’s lives before the divorce and who want to be afterwards, is it truly in the best interest of any child:

■ To see one parent almost every day and the other parent four days/month immediately after one parent files for divorce, regardless of the caretaking duties prior to divorce? This is in the current statute.

■ To have a judge who is not trained in child psychology, development or current research on the best interests of the child make a ruling that affects children and families the rest of their lives?

■ To have extended family members such as grandparents removed to minimal involvement in this process as well?

■ To have our lawyers encouraging conflict between parents and promoting false allegations of abuse? If you don’t think this is happening, your head is stuck in the sand.

■ To encourage the ongoing use of a system that makes money off keeping parents fighting? The more power and custody given to one parent, studies show, the more parents end up back in court.

The more one parent is removed from placement, the higher child support payments. The more money states receive in child support payments, the more money states receive from the federal government.

Yes, that’s right, the state makes money on keeping parents away from children.

■ To have our lawmakers ignore the voices of their constituents and instead take recommendations from an industry that is financially profiting from keeping parents out of children’s lives?

■ To have a system designed for one parent to be able to use a child has a pawn to get back at the other parent?

■ To exclude a fit parent who is most often the parent who creates a sense of stability and protection for them through laws designed to do just that?

The fact is, our laws are anything but in the best interest of the children of our state.

They are, rather, in the best interest of the divorce industry, the state, the federal government and one parent — not the family as a whole.

The term simply is misleading, if not dishonest, in this scenario. The true best interest of any child is a loving, intact family where both parents can love him or her without the state’s interference.

The next best thing would be a divorced or separated family where two fit parents can love their child(ren) equally, sharing time and decision-making abilities.

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