Legal Information: South Dakota


December 21, 2022

If the other parent doesn’t follow the custody order, what can I do?

Once the other parent is notified of the custody process and hearing, any decision or order of court is enforceable.1 If one of the parents does not follow the order, the other parent can ask the judge to enter an order to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court.2 If the custodial parent refuses to follow the visitation schedule, the non-custodial parent can also file a motion for enforcement of visitation rights.3 In both cases the judge will schedule a hearing on the matter.

If the judge believes that one of the parents willfully violated or failed to obey the custody or visitation order, s/he can impose a punishment (sanctions) to punish the offender or to make him/her follow the order. The judge can order that the offending parent does one or more of the following:

  • provide make-up time with the child;
  • pay court costs and attorney’s fees associated with the violation;
  • pay a civil penalty up to $1,000;
  • participate in counseling or parent education classes; 
  • post money (a bond) or other security with the court that would not be returned if  the parent failed to obey the order moving forward; 
  • serve jail time of not more than three days; or
  • obey any other sanction that the judge believes is appropriate in the case.4

If there is a serious (grave) violation or multiple violations, the judge may change (modify) the existing custody or visitation order.4

1 SDCL § 25-4A-1
2 SDCL § 25-4A-2
3 SDCL § 25-4A-4.1
4 SDCL § 25-4A-5

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