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South Dakota Divorce: What You Should Know

We know that proceeding with a divorce is challenging and emotional for you. We've helped people through the divorce process in locations across South Dakota, and we're here to make the experience as easy as possible.

Among the things you can count on when you pursue a South Dakota divorce online is our guarantee: Your divorce papers will be accurate and accepted by the court or we will refund your money. We're confident about offering our guarantee because it is an ongoing priority for us to ensure that our documents incorporate the most recent court regulations.If for some reason your court rejects your documents, we'll correct them for re-filing. If they're still not right, you'll get your money back.

Divorce in South Dakota

Understanding divorce laws and processes is very important. Our team of experts is available to help you at every step.Here is key information about divorce in South Dakota:

Where to File

Be sure that South Dakota has jurisdiction for your divorce

You must, at the time your divorce action begins, be a resident of South Dakota, or be stationed in this state while a member of the armed services. The divorce may be filed in the county in which either spouse resides. Your spouse has the right to have the case transferred to his or her county if desired.

If you have minor children who have lived with your spouse in another state for more than six months, it may be to your advantage to file in that state, since its courts will have the power to decide what happens to the children. Note: Your spouse has the option to waive that jurisdiction, which must be done properly, in writing.

 

With the exception of an option for residents living overseas, you must file your divorce in the county in which you presently live, or in the county where your spouse resides, if different. You or your spouse must have a residence within the county (in South Dakota) in which you file for your divorce. If you live overseas, you can file in South Dakota if you have maintained your residency in South Dakota.

Military Divorce

Military personnel on active duty--or their spouses--can file for divorce in South Dakota provided they have been stationed in the state for six months or were residents of the state upon entering active duty.

Our staff is highly knowledgeable about special military requirements and the details of Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act.

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Grounds For Divorce

NO-FAULT or FAULT ?

The ground constituting a no-fault for divorce in our documents usually is: “Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family.” This is the most common ground that our clients use because there is no requirement for proof at the final hearing.

Here is a full list of the fault grounds are available for filing a divorce in South Dakota. They require proof--otherwise a judge the case choose to dismiss the case:

(1) In favor of either party, when the other was, at the time of the marriage physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state.

(2) For adultery.

(3) For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint.

(4) Imprisonment in the penitentiary of this or any other state for two years, the sentence being for seven years or longer.

(5) The commission of the crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage.

(6) For becoming addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine or other like drug.

(7) Upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together.

(8) In favor of either party, when the other, after marriage, shall have been confined in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years, if such party from whom a divorce is sought is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing of the complaint; provided, however, that the superintendent of the mental hospital in which such person is confined shall make a certified statement, under oath, that it is his opinion and belief, after a complete and full study and examination of such person, that such person is hopelessly and incurably insane.

(9) In favor of the husband, when the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency.

(10) In favor of either party to the marriage when the other has committed actual violence on his or her person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from his or her conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence.

(11)  In favor of the wife when the wife has lived, or shall have lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years without support from him for two years next preceding the filing of the complaint, and she has bona fide resided in this state during said period.

 

When a judgment of divorce is entered, in effect, it is awarded to both parties to the marriage.

Waiting Periods

Waiting Periods refer to the time that a court requires to pass from the time the divorce is filed and the time that your divorce decree becomes final.

Divorce law in South Dakota requires that 30 days pass from the filing of a divorce complaint and summons or Answer and Waiver before a final judgment of divorce be official. If your spouse signs the South Dakota Answer and Waiver immediately after you file the divorce complaint, then your divorce can become final in as few as 30 days.

South Dakota law further requires that neither you nor your spouse may remarry, except to each other, until sixty days following the judgment of divorce is entered

About child custody, visitation, property and support

Here is information pertaining to child custody, property, and support issues.It can help you determine the appropriate way to have your divorce documents prepared.

Child Custody

 CHILD CUSTODY:

Legal Custody: There are two types: Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. These govern decisions made regarding how the child(ren) will be raised.

In Joint Custody, the parents decide together about regarding the child(ren)'s upbringing.

With Sole Custody, one parent makes the decisions about raising the child(ren).

Physical Custody: This determines the child(ren)'s primary residence after the divorce is final. They will live with the primary residential parent. The other parent may have visitation rights depending on the visitation schedule provided in your divorce documents.

Visitation is the same irrespective of a grant of joint custody or sole custody.

VISITATION:

This can be any schedule and details that you agree upon with your spouse, and can be changed. If you and your spouse cannot reach agreement then the state's guidelines take effect. These are outlined in the Marital Separation Agreement (MSA) provided with your divorce documents. You don't have to include your present visitation agreement. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason when you fill out our questionnaire.

Child Support

There are two methods for determining support for the children involved in a divorce:.

1. You can agree with your spouse on an amount for child support. We'll prepare your divorce documents with the child support amount ordered this amount. Provided the amount is reasonable, a court usually will order it as part of you overall agreement. It is rare for a court to change an amount for child support when you both agree.

2. You can ask the court to award child support in conformance with South Dakota's child support guidelines. The support will be either an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or determined for you by the court. If you want the court to calculate the amount of child support for you, you must file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit. We provide these among the documents that we send you.

Property & Debts

When you divorce, the personal property (vehicles, retirement accounts, furniture, businesses, etc.) owned by you and your spouse is divided. Most states are community property states, although it is referred to by different names in some states. Essentially, the property of the marriage is split equally.

Debts are handled in much the same way. Most often, spouses are able to agree on how to split their assets and debts. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished using a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). When you and your spouse agree to the property and debt division, and formalize it in the Marital Separation Agreement, it becomes incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ends your marriage. You and your spouse can divide your property however you like, provided a basic fairness is maintained. You are not required to list all the property and debts that you are dividing, as long as you agree. Some items, such as vehicles and homes, typically do get listed.

If you want to alter how you and your spouse split your property and/or debts after we have prepared your documents, just email us or contact us by phone. We'll revise your documents for you without additional charge for up to one year.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on how your property is to be divided, the marriage dissolution becomes a contested divorce instead. If at your final hearing your divorce is still contested we don't provide advice. You might have to consult an attorney or be prepared to explain to a judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.

Real Property

If there is a home--or more than one--that you own with your spouse, you must decide how to split this property. Here are some of the options you can consider to divide your real property:

1. SELL THE HOME(S):  You split the net proceeds equally, or however you agree is fair. Some spouses decide to defer selling until a child is out of school or until the property increases in value. You can include in your divorce documents whatever you decide about this.

2. AWARD THE PROPERTY TO ONE PARTY: Usually, that party will be required to make the future payments on the property. In these cases, a quitclaim deed is usually signed. This document removes one party from the property's deed, thus making the person who is awarded the home its sole owner. Issues such as refinancing can be provided for in your divorce documents.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. See Code of South Dakota - Title 30 - Chapters: 2-51, 2-52, and 2-55. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request for support in the documents.

There isn't a standard calculation for spousal support. If you and your spouse cannot agree on an amount for spousal support, the amount will be determined by the Judge based on many factors, including some of the following:

1. Length of marriage

2. Standard of living prior to divorce.

3. Ability for both parties to get employment.

4. Retraining in the workforce

5. Disabilities and other factors.

South Dakota Court Locations:

Here is information about some of the courts in South Dakota. If your County isn't listed, we'll include the court information when we send your documents.

Minnehaha County Circuit Court: 425 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57102-0136 Phone: (605) 367-5900 Fax: 605-367-5916
Clay County Circuit Court: 211 W. Main Street, Vermillion, SD 57069-0377 Phone: (605) 677-6756
Hughes County Circuit Court: 104 E Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501-1238 Phone: (605) 773-3713
Pennington County Circuit Court: 315 St. Joseph Street, Rapid City, SD 57709-0230 Phone: (605) 394-2575
Brown County Circuit Court: 101 SE 1st Avenue, Aberdeen, SD 57402-1087 Phone: (605) 626-2451
Brookings County Circuit Court: 314 6th Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006-2041 Phone: (605) 688-4200
Codington County Circuit Court: 14 1st Avenue SE, Watertown, SD 57201-6054 Phone: (605) 882-5095
Davison County Circuit Court: 200 E 4th, Mitchell, SD 57301-0927 Phone: (605) 995-8105
Lawrence County Circuit Court: 78 Sherman Street, Deadwood, SD 57732-0626 Phone: (605) 578-2040.

South Dakota Divorce Filing Fees.

The court filing fees for a divorce in South Dakota is approximately $75.

If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of approximately $25 to serve your spouse.

Note: If the whereabouts of your spouse is unknown, then a publication fee will apply. The publication fee is approximately $65.

There are no additional fees for an uncontested divorce.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.

Methods of serving your spouse: 

1. Your spouse Signs: The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the divorce complaint with the court. You can deliver the documents by hand, send them via postal mail, or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even if your spouse is incarcerated. 

2. Personal Service: If your spouse will not sign or you are not sure if your spouse will sign then you can have him or her served with the documents by the sheriff in your spouse’s county. You can contact the sheriff in any county of any state to perform this service. You can also achieve service via Certified Mail, (make sure to include "Return Receipt Requested") if your spouse lives outside your state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can have him or her served by the prison/jail officials.

3. Service by publication. If you can't locate your spouse then you can publish. The publication fee for a newspaper averages about $65 but this varies significantly. You file an Affidavit with the county clerk, who then directs that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We give you all the documents you need for service by publication.

 
 
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