South Dakota Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations

South Dakota child support can be affected by parenting time totals

South Dakota uses overnight totals to determine whether you qualify for a shared physical custody credit to reduce the amount of child support in your divorce case.

Besides income, overnight totals are a key part of the South Dakota child support formula. Your parenting time directly affects your child support, whether you pay or receive.

Most parenting time totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

South Dakota attorneys and judges often rely on overnight estimates only, even if they are incorrect, because counting total hours is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your overnight totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.

How to calculate parenting time instead of relying on estimates

To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to add up hours for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total parenting time, and you can see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts about South Dakota child support

In any divorce, South Dakota family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. The total parenting time factors into the child support formula for both sole and shared custody.

South Dakota sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to scheduled visitations. In South Dakota, sole physical custody is given to the parent with whom the children live with and spend the most time with.

The non-residential parent hosts the children for fewer than 180 overnights, or 49 percent of the time each year.

South Dakota shared physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. South Dakota law outlines shared custody as any arrangement in which the child has regular and continuing contact with both parents.

Parenting time does not have to be equally divided to qualify for shared physical custody.  Both parents must host the children for at least 180 overnights each year to qualify for shared custody.

South Dakota child support formula and parenting time totals

South Dakota family courts use formulas that consider both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount.  Overnights determine which formula applies to your case.

The child support formulas use in South Dakota considers both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount. When children spend at least 180 days with the non-residential parent, the child support amount is lowered. In South Dakota, a day is defined as a period of time that includes an overnight.

The non-residential parent generally pays the residential parent the child support.

Examples of the sole custody formula and South Dakota child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted monthly income is $2,400. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent in this sole custody case, and is scheduled to host the children for fewer than 180 days per year. He pays $856 in child support each month to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent and hosts the children for fewer than 180 days per year. She pays $524 in child support to Robert.

In South Dakota sole custody cases, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.

Examples of the shared custody formula and South Dakota child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted monthly income is $2,400. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert hosts the children for 180 days, the minimum to qualify for shared physical custody. He pays $228 in child support per month to Mary. The higher earner generally pays child support to the lower earner to ensure the children's standard of living is the same in both locations.
  • Scenario #2: Robert and Mary both earn $4,000 per month. Robert and Mary agree to an exact 50/50 split. In this case, no child support is paid or received because neither parent is the higher earner.
Other factors in the South Dakota child support formula

South Dakota's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:

Eligible children: In South Dakota, child support is required for each child until he or she reaches 18 years old, unless the child is still in high school. In that case, child support terminates upon graduation or age 19, whichever comes first.

Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. South Dakota law uses one parent's income from the equivalent of one full-time job to determine a child support amount in sole custody cases. Both incomes figure into shared custody child support.

Specific deductions: There are some deductions allowed by South Dakota family courts that allow an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.

How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with South Dakota law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about South Dakota child support and parenting time

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in South Dakota, remember these 5 things:

  1. South Dakota Child Support Guidelines award sole or shared physical custody based on the number of overnights the non-residential parent receives.
  2. Sole physical custody means that the non-residential parent is scheduled for fewer than 180 days with the children per year.
  3. Parents with 180 overnights or more qualify for a parenting time credit, which generally means lower child support amounts.
  4. The non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent in South Dakota.
  5. In the case of a 50/50 split in parenting time, the higher earner pays child support to the lower earner.

Use Custody X Change software to create a custody schedule that will quickly calculate the total parenting time for the South Dakota child support formula.

As you negotiate what kind of custody schedule will best fit your needs, the software will accurately calculate your overnights.


The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Time

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now