Twisted Interests: People in Interest of S.A.H. and the State of Open Adoptions in South Dakota
67 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 15, 1997
In People in Interest of S.A.H. (SD 1995), the South Dakota Supreme Court held that "open adoptions" (that is, post-adoption visitation rights retained by by the natural parents) could only be mandated when the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child by clear and convincing evidence. The court also instructed trial courts to weigh the needs of the child, the effect on integration with the new family, and the potential effect on the pool of other prospective adoptive parents. This decision, while initially (and briefly) securing judicial enforcement of consensual open adoptions, presents an inordinately difficult standard for mandating open adoptions.
Keywords: Open Adoptions, Individuals with Disabilities, Visitation, Parental Rights, Best Interests of the Child
JEL Classification: K17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation