14-09-29. Parental rights and responsibilities--Best interests and welfare of child
1. A court issuing an order that deals with parenting rights and responsibilities of a child entered under this chapter shall award the parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child to a person, agency, organization, or institution as will, in the opinion of the court, promote the best interests and welfare of the child. Between the mother and father, whether married or unmarried, there is no presumption as to whom will better promote the best interests and welfare of the child.
2. If the court finds that a parent has perpetrated domestic violence and that parent does not have residential responsibility, and there exists one incident of domestic violence which resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the use of a dangerous weapon or there exists a pattern of domestic violence within a reasonable time proximate to the proceeding, the court shall allow only supervised parenting time with that parent unless there is a showing by clear and convincing evidence that unsupervised parenting time would not endanger the child’s physical or emotional health.
3. If any court finds that a parent has sexually abused the parent’s child, the court shall prohibit contact between the abusive parent and the child until the court finds that the abusive parent has successfully completed a treatment program designed for such sexual abusers and that supervised parenting time is in the child’s best interest. Contact between the abusive parent and the child may be allowed only in a therapeutic setting, facilitated by a therapist as part of a sexual abuse treatment program, and only when the therapist for the abusive parent and the therapist for the abused child agree that contact serves a therapeutic purpose and is in the best interests of the child.
4. In any proceeding dealing with parental rights and responsibilities in which a parent is found to have perpetrated domestic violence, and there exists one incident of domestic violence which resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the use of a dangerous weapon or there exists a pattern of domestic violence within a reasonable time proximate to the proceeding, all court costs, attorney’s fees, evaluation fees, and expert witness fees must be paid by the perpetrator of the domestic violence unless those costs would place an undue financial hardship on that parent.