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Legal Information: South Dakota

Custody

Laws current as of November 28, 2023

What does a parenting coordinator do?

If there is a custody or visitation dispute, the judge may appoint a parenting coordinator to help you resolve it.1 You or the other parent can specifically request that a parenting coordinator is appointed or the judge can decide on his/her own. Who is appointed for this role can be decided by the parents and approved by the judge or the judge can decide who the parenting coordinator will be.2

The judge can order that the parenting coordinator do the following:

  1. inform both parents of their role in the process; 
  2. monitor that the parenting plan is followed and resolve any minor issues that arise as long as they don’t involve a substantial change to the court order;
  3. recommend strategies for putting the parenting plan in place or resolving parenting issues that are impacting the plan;
  4. help you and the other parent develop better communication and cooperation so that you can effectively co-parent your child;
  5. help you and the other parent to better foster ongoing relationships with your child;
  6. help follow court orders and make recommendations to the judge regarding changing, clarifying, or enforcing a parenting time order;
  7. not allow the parties’ attorneys to participate in parenting coordinator sessions;
  8.  put safeguards in place during the process when there are domestic violence concerns, such as no direct communication or no joint meetings, for example;
  9. recommend community resources to you and the other parent;
  10. make recommendations on day-to-day issues experienced by you and the other parent; and
  11. other tasks specific to your case.3

However, even if there is a parenting coordinator appointed, the judge continues to be in charge of the case and is the only one with the legal power to make decisions related to child support, custody, or visitation.4 

The fees and costs associated with a parenting coordinator will be covered by you and the other parent.5 It’s also important to know that these services are not confidential and the judge can order the parenting coordinator to testify as part of the court process.6

1 SDCL § 25-4-63
2 SDCL § 25-4-64
3 SDCL § 25-4-70
SDCL § 25-4-72
5 SDCL § 25-4-69
6 SDCL § 25-4-74