21.722.12 96th Legislative Session 672

2021 South Dakota Legislature

House Bill 1241


Introduced by: Representative Haugaard

An Act to provide for participation in a parent education program upon filing for divorce.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of South Dakota:

Section 1. That a NEW SECTION be added:

25-4A-29. Parent education program--Required attendance--Court rules--Fees.

Beginning January 1, 2022, the court shall require parents of a minor child who have petitioned for divorce, and parents who have petitioned for child custody or visitation, to participate in a parent education program, having a duration of at least four hours, for the purpose of developing the parents' understanding of:

(1) The impact that divorce, the restructuring of the family, and judicial proceedings have upon children and the family;

(2) Methods for preventing parenting time conflicts; and

(3) Dispute resolution options.

Upon a showing of good cause, the court may excuse a party from attending the program. If past or present domestic abuse has been alleged, the court may not require the parties to attend the same parent education program.

The court may require that, as part of the parent education program, children attend a separate program designed to assist them in dealing with the impact of divorce.

The South Dakota Supreme Court shall promulgate court rules to establish standards for the implementation and administration of the program and may establish fees to defray the costs of the program.

Section 2. That a NEW SECTION be added:

25-4A-30. Statements inadmissible--Exception--Disclosure prohibited.

Unless all parties who attend the parent education program otherwise agree in writing, any statements made by a party during participation in a parent education program are inadmissible as evidence. No record may be made regarding a party's participation in a parent education program, except a record of attendance at and completion of the program.

Program facilitators may not disclose any information about a person attending a parent education program.

Program facilitators may not be subpoenaed or called as witnesses in a court proceeding.

Catchlines are not law. (§ 2-16-13.1) Underscores indicate new language.

Overstrikes indicate deleted language.