Parents fight to see their kids more - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Parents fight to see their kids more

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When it comes to child custody, South Dakota laws are considered some of the worst for parents who do not have custody of their children.

The standard leaves those parents four nights a month to see their kid.

South Dakota Shared Parenting Group is trying to make joint physical custody the law.

Right now, the standards are based on a case where the parents lived 300 miles apart.

"There's not many things that can bring a grown man to tears, but I'll tell you, it still does." said Grant Howman.

Four years ago Howman and his wife divorced.

Leaving him fighting for more than four nights a month with his children.

"When my attorney told me I would basically have to attack my ex-wife and her ability to be a mother. I refused to." He said.

Howman got lucky and ended up with ten nights.

But every other weekend is the current custody law in the state.

South Dakota Shared Parenting Group is fighting to change that.

"The closest we can get to 50%, the larger benefit, again for fit parents, and the closer we can get to the 50-50 mark I think the better it is for our children." He explained.

The group's bill proposes joint physical custody for fit parents.

85% of the time, the dad gets less time.

But, that's not Alyssa Damiata's case.

"It's tough. He was really excited about his spelling bee because he got second place. And he called me to let me know about it because he knew he couldn't come over to let me know." She said.

She has her son just eight nights a month because of the current standards.

"What I'm hoping is this bill will help me to help me get more time with my son since we are both fit parents. I don't want to take my son away from his dad." Damiata said.

She just wants more time.

"For fit parents who just want to spend equal time with their kids, this is the best thing. It needs to go in that direction." Damiata explained.

Fighting to see your kids is expensive.

Grant Howman said his case cost in the six-figure range.

Leaving parents who don't have much money pretty helpless in the fight.

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