Getting a parent to live up to a court-ordered visitation agreement can oftentimes be challenging. Below is a brief outline of the relevant South Dakota statutes. This should provide you with general information on what is available, but please call Aasen Law Office at 605-390-0999 for advice and counsel specific to your unique situation.

Potential penalties for failing to comply with a visitation order

If a parent fails to abide by a court visitation order, the following sanctions may be imposed by the Court:
  • Require "make up" visitation time with the non-offending parent;
  • Payment of the other parent's court costs and attorney's fees;
  • A fine up to $1,000.00;
  • Court-ordered participation in counseling or a parent education class (like S.M.I.L.E.);
  • Post a cash bond with the court as security for future compliance;
  • Jail sentence of up to three days;
  • Probation of up to five years;
  • In extreme cases, modification of custody (Naumen v. Naumen)
SDCL §§ 25-4A-5, 25-4A-6

Procedure for enforcing visitation

  • File a Petition for Order to Show Cause Hearing
  • This petition asks the Court to schedule a hearing the offending parent must "show cause" as to why he/she is violating the visitation order.
    • Filing fee of $ 50.00
    • Court can then sign an Order to Show Cause and schedule a hearing date;
  • Serve the Petition and Order on the offending parent;
  • Attend hearing and present evidence;
  • Court then issues findings and an appropriate Order;

Defenses for the offending parent

  • "Unclean hands": visitation or support violations by one parent may bar sanctions for violations by the other.
  • "Relinquishment": That the complaining parent "voluntarily relinquished" allowed custody is a complete defense.

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