Implementing Parenting Guidelines

The following page will assist you to understand how parenting time guidelines (commonly referred to as "visitation") work and will provide you with a walkthrough of how to implement parenting time guidelines. Implementation of parenting guidelines occurs when you have a visitation, support, or custody order from a court in South Dakota.

NOTE: You can find a link to a document titled "Representing Yourself in Court", on the left hand side of this page; this document provides great information that can help you through the legal process. It is recommended that you print, retain, and use this guide throughout this process to help you understand the steps you will need to take and how to prepare yourself for court.

The following are documents intended to help guide you through this process. The first is the Instructions for Application of Parenting Guidelines and the second is a checklist or the forms you will need. It is recommended that you print, read, and understand these two documents before proceeding.

UJS-365-Application Instructions for Parenting Time Guidelines

UJS-373-Checklist for Implementing Guidelines

The following is the South Dakota Parenting Guidelines, please print and read these guidelines. These are the default guidelines for the State of South Dakota. If both parties cannot reach an agreement on a specific parenting plan, these guidelines will become mandatory.

UJS-302-South Dakota Parenting Guidelines

Steps for Implementing Parenting Guidelines

1. Complete the Petition for Order Implementing South Dakota Parenting Guidelines
  • The petition is straight forward, please follow the instructions and complete the form appropriately. The information to fill in the top part of the forms, called the Caption (a picture can be found directly below), can be found at the top of your current support or custody Order.
    Fourth Circuit
    Be sure to copy the information EXACTLY as it appears on your current custody or visitation order.
  • The petition basically tells the opposing party that you intend to implement the Standard Parenting Guidelines, and informs them that if they don't respond with an objection to the implementation the court will proceed with the Standard Parenting Guidelines.
  • ATTENTION: This form must be completed in the presence of a notary public or the clerk of court. You MUST wait to sign this portion until you are in the presence of the notary public or the clerk of court. Be sure to bring you photo identification to verify that you are who you claim to be. By signing your name, you are telling the court that you are telling the truth and that you have a good faith reason for your requests. If you are not telling the truth, if you are misleading the court, or if you are serving or filing this document for an improper purpose, the court could find you in contempt or you could be charged with a crime for not telling the truth.
  • UJS-366-Petition for Order Implementing Parenting Time Guidelines
2. Notice of Petition for Parenting Time Guidelines 3. File the documents with the Clerk of Court
  • Take the original copies of the Petition and Notice of Petition to the Clerk of Court, and ask to file the documents. The clerk can make copies of the documents for you to serve on the opposing party.
4. Serve the Opposing Party
  • Documents You Will Need to Serve - In order to Implement the Parenting Guidelines, the Defendant must be served with copies the following documents (the originals are filed with the Clerk of Court Office),

    1. Petition for Order Implementing South Dakota Parenting Guidelines (Completed in Step 1)
    2. Notice of Petition for Parenting Time Guidelines (Completed in Step 2)
    3. You will also need to include an Admission of Service document, which will differ depending on the type of service you choose (see "How to Serve the Defendant" below)

  • Hand Delivered - The Admission of Service of Summons and Complaint (below) is the document served to prove that the defendant was properly served if you hand deliver the documents to the defendant.

          UJS 317A Admission of Service of Summons and Complaint

  • Mailed - The Admission of Service of Petition (below) is the document served to prove that the defendant was properly served if you mail the documents to the defendant.

          UJS-368-Admission of Service for Parenting Time Guidelines

  • ATTENTION: These forms must be signed in the presence of a notary public or the clerk of court. You MUST wait to sign this portion until you are in the presence of the notary public or the clerk of court. Be sure to bring you photo identification to verify that you are who you claim to be. By signing your name, you are telling the court that you are telling the truth and that you have a good faith reason for your requests. If you are not telling the truth, if you are misleading the court, or if you are serving or filing this document for an improper purpose, the court could find you in contempt or you could be charged with a crime for not telling the truth.

  • Sheriff's Office - Does not require any additional forms, only the Petition & Notice; however, please be aware that having the Sheriff's Office deliver notice will cost the plaintiff a fee.
5. File the Notice of Service with the Clerk of Court - File the original Proof of Service document with the Clerk of Court. This is either the Sheriff's proof of service (called the Affidavit of Service) or the Admission of Service.

6. File for the Order Implementing SD Parenting Time Guidelines - If after 10 days from the Service of Process, the opposing party does not file an objection, you may submit the Order Implementing South Dakota Parenting Time Guidelines (below) along with the prior support/custody Court Order. The Judge will then order the guidelines to be implemented and will mail both parties a copy of the signed Order.

      UJS-370-Order Implementing Parenting Time Guidelines

7. If an Objection was filed by the Opposing Party - The Clerk of Court will schedule a hearing and send all parties a copy of the Notice of Hearing. You must attend the hearing, and be ON TIME.
  • What do I need to know for the hearing?

    1. Bring copies of all relevant documents
    2. Bring any proof or witnesses you may have that will support your claims as to why (or why not)the standard guidelines should be implemented
    3. Dress and act formally
    4. Refer to the Judge as "Your Honor"
    5. Talk to the Judge, NOT the opposing party

  • Side Note: Relax, the Judge simply wants to hear the reasoning from both parties point of view as to why they should prevail.
  • Do NOT bring your Children to the Hearing
  • NOTICE TO DEFENDANTS: Be prepared to answer with sound reasoning, why the standard guidelines should not be implemented.
  • At the end of the hearing the Judge will enter an Order and send the parties a copy of the Order.

How do I Object to the Implementation of the Guidelines

If you do not object to the standard guidelines no further action is necessary. However, if you do object to the guidelines please follow the following instructions. You can find a link to "Instructions for Objecting to Implementation of the South Dakota Parenting Time Guidelines" directly below. You are advised to read and follow these directions closely. You can also link a copy of the standard South Dakota Parenting Time Guidelines below.

UJS-371-Instructions for Objecting to Guidelines
UJS-302-South Dakota Parenting Guidelines

If you disagree with the standard guidelines you must complete the "Objection to Order Implementing Parenting Time Guidelines" found below. You must complete the Objection within 10 days from the time you received notice of the action.

UJS-372-Objection to Order Implementing Guidelines

The following instructions MUST be followed closely to properly complete the Objection:
  1. Fill out the top part of the form (called the Caption) with the information found at the top of your current support, visitation or custody Order. Be sure to copy the information exactly as it is on your current support, custody or visitation order. (An example of the Caption can be found below)
  2. Write down the section numbers you Agree with in paragraph one on the Objection form.
  3. Write down the section numbers you Disagree with in paragraph two of the Objection form.
  4. Write down the section numbers you partially Agree or Disagree in paragraph three of the Objection form.
  5. If you wish to further explain your answers, you may do so using the attached sheet marked for that purpose.
  6. Sign the Objection form in the presence of a Notary Public or Clerk of Court and have the Notary Public/Clerk of Court complete their portion. By signing your name you are swearing to the Court that you are telling the truth. If you are not telling the truth, or if you are misleading the court, or filing this document for an improper purpose, the Court can impose penalties.
  7. Make one copy for your records and one for the Petitioner. You must mail the opposing party a copy of your Objection form UJS-372-Objection to Order Implementing Guidelines.
  8. File your original Objection form with the Clerk of Court. Again, this must be done within ten (10) days of receiving the "Notice of Petition For Implementing Parenting Time Guidelines."
Once you have filed the Objection with the Clerk of Court, they will set a court hearing date and send both parties a notice of hearing form. Please, refer to step 7 above for information on the hearing.