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Legal Information: South Dakota


Laws current as of November 28, 2023

What is custody (custodial responsibility)?

Custody, also called “custodial responsibility,” is defined by South Dakota law as all powers and responsibilities related to taking care of your child, known as caretaking authority, and making decisions on his/her behalf, known as decision-making authority. This includes physical and legal custody.1

Generally speaking, these terms mean the following:

  • Caretaking authority is the actual physical care and supervision of your child. This includes the right to make day-to-day decisions about your child. . 
  • Decision-making authority is the right and responsibility to make major decisions about your child. These decisions include the child’s education, religious training, health care, extracurricular activities, and travel.2

1 SDCL § 25-4B-102(5)
SDCL § 25-4B-102(6)