The judges of the Second Judicial Circuit, Fourth Judicial Circuit and Seventh Judicial Circuit have adopted a general requirement that parents in divorce, custody, and visitation
(parenting time) cases attend a short class on the effects of divorce or parental conflict on children. In these circuits the judges have chosen to use the SMILE
Program, which stands for "Start Making It Livable for Everyone." SMILE was originally developed by a group of Michigan courts and "Friend of the Court" programs
(called Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, here in South Dakota). SMILE is now used by many states and jurisdictions across the United States, and was
last updated in 2006.
The 2nd Circuit SMILE program is offered at the Minnehaha County Courthouse in Sioux Falls at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The sessions are
facilitated by staff from Volunteers of America. The program usually takes less than two hours and involves a video, an information booklet, and a short group
discussion. A fee of $5 is charged at the door to cover the expense of the video, the booklet, and the facilitator's time. Please call Court Administration at
605-367-5920 to schedule your SMILE session.
The 7th Circuit SMILE program is offered at Hudson Hall in Spearfish, and at Catholic Social Services and Lutheran Social Services in Rapid City.
The program usually takes less than two hours and involves a video, an information booklet, and a short group discussion. A fee of $20 is
charged at the door to cover the expense of the video, the booklet, and the facilitator's time. Please call Court Administration at 605-578-2044 to schedule your
Parents are strongly encouraged to complete the program in person. If you cannot attend the sessions because
of work reasons or you live far away, you can ask the judge to allow you to attend a SMILE program at one of the many other courts using the program around the
United States. An internet search on the phrase "SMILE divorce" will list many other locations. The program is certainly most effective in person, but if you
absolutely cannot complete the SMILE program in person for some exceptional reason, you can ask a judge to allow you to complete the program online. At
the links above you will find the video, the brochure, and a verification form that must be signed by you and one other person to verify that you watched
the entire video and reviewed all the pages of the booklet.
Our special thanks to the Friend of the Court Program in Oakland County, Michigan, for allowing us to use this program and to post the video and booklet on the web.