Pierre, SD–In the article below, South Dakota legislators propose a 90 day waiting period for divorce filings so spouses from other states can’t skip off to South Dakota, file for divorce, and force the estranged spouse to suffer the disadvantage and expense of having to contest the divorce from out-of-state.
It’s an eminently reasonable argument but what does the opposition say? The South Dakota Advocacy Network for Women says that the proposed waiting period would endanger women who flee to South Dakota to escape abusive husbands. So basically women should be permitted to use this scam, because a tiny percentage of them might be fleeing abuse. (And by the way, the women could just get a Protection Order without the divorce anyway).
This is yet another example of why the fatherhood movement needs to confront the domestic violence issue and the misleading, anti-male claims of the domestic violence establishment.
(It’s also an example of why the California Alliance for Families and Children’s February 15/16 conference–“From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence” is so important. Dozens of leading authorities in the domestic violence field are challenging the entrenched domestic violence system. They are advocating for non-discriminatory and evidence-based policies, and seek to correct the many damaging laws and policies which have been based on misleading claims. To learn more, click here.)
The article is below. The bill did get out of committee, barely.
Divorce requirement proposed
February 7, 2008
PIERRE – State law contains no minimum length of residency to file for divorce in South Dakota, but that may change.
A bill sent 7-6 Wednesday to the House floor by the Judiciary Committee would not permit people to start divorce proceedings until they have lived in the state for at least 90 days.
Rep. Richard Engels, D-Hartford, said the absence of any waiting period allows nonresidents to come into the state and immediately file for divorce. He said that is unfair because it forces estranged husbands and wives in other states to bear the expense and inconvenience of going through the legal proceeding in South Dakota.
South Dakota once had a one-year residency requirement before people could file for divorce, but the Legislature eliminated the waiting period after a federal court ruled several years ago that a waiting period was unconstitutional, Engels said.
That ruling was later overturned, but the state did not reinstate a new residency requirement, he said.
“Is it fair for someone to move to South Dakota from another state and file for divorce the same day?’ he asked.
HB1157 should not be passed, said Caitlin Collier, lobbyist for the South Dakota Advocacy Network for Women. She said the proposed waiting period would endanger women who flee to South Dakota to escape abusive husbands.
“This would remove a potential haven for battered women,’ Collier warned. “You are putting women at risk.’
Women should not have to hide for 90 days before they can start divorce proceedings, she said. Collier explained that an automatic restraining order kicks in when people file for divorce.
Engels said the legislation also would change state law so divorce cases that are filed in South Dakota can continue in South Dakota even if people who file the cases move to other states. When that happens, those people now must meet the minimum residency requirements in the new states before they can refile for divorce, he said.
Keeping jurisdiction for divorce cases in South Dakota would be especially helpful to those who live near the state”s borders and move just across the border to another state and to military personnel who may be transferred out of state, Engels said.
[Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]