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Divorce in South Dakota

Divorce in South Dakota



In the last decade, South Dakota’s divorce laws and regulations have witnessed significant changes, demonstrating the state’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework while ensuring fairness, transparency, and the well-being of families involved in divorce proceedings. This article provides a concise overview of key developments in South Dakota’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Facilitation

   – Simplification of the process for seeking a no-fault divorce.

2014: Child Custody Evaluation Criteria

   – Emphasis on evaluating child custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child.

2015: Property Division Guidelines

   – Clearer guidelines for the division of marital property during divorce.

2016: Alimony Award Parameters

   – Establishment of parameters for awarding alimony, taking into account various factors.

2017: Child Support Calculation Adjustments

   – Adjustments to child support calculations to better align with changing financial needs.

2018: Mediation Promotion

   – Promotion of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method.

2019: Parenting Plans Enhancement

   – Introduction of enhanced parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and support arrangements.

2020: Digital Divorce Filing Options

   – Introduction of digital options for filing divorce petitions, enhancing accessibility.

2021: Collaborative Divorce Emphasis

   – Emphasis on collaborative divorce methods to minimize adversarial litigation.

2022: Online Divorce Resources

   – Provision of online resources to guide individuals through the divorce process.

2023: Spousal Support Adjustments

   – Consideration of adjustments to spousal support guidelines.

South Dakota’s ongoing efforts to evolve its divorce laws reflect the state’s dedication to supporting families during challenging times while promoting fairness and justice. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for stakeholders and the public to engage in discussions that prioritize the well-being of families navigating divorce.

A Brief Guide to Divorce in South Dakota

Couples experiencing marital difficulties in South Dakota and contemplating separation should be aware of the following things:

South Dakota State Divorce Laws

Unlike most states, there is no minimum amount of time you must have lived in the state to file for divorce in South Dakota.

Grounds for Divorce

Except in cases of no fault divorce, there are six grievances that justify filing for an at-fault divorce:

• Adultery

• Physical or emotional cruelty

• Continuous substance abuse

• Spouse convicted of a felony

• Neglect of marital duties

• Desertion

A judge may also grant a divorce in South Dakota if a spouse has been institutionalized for insanity for five years or longer.

Legal Separation

In cases where a couple wishes to separate without getting divorced, they may file for a legal separation. As with all cases of divorce in South Dakota, alimony, child support and similar issues are agreed upon and presented to a judge. These agreements are legally enforceable, and can be withdrawn if the couple reconciles.

Types of Divorce

Couples who agree to separate and resolve any disagreements over child custody, property division and related matters will be filing for an uncontested divorce in South Dakota. If a spouse does not agree to the separation or agreement cannot be reached on all the terms of the divorce, a judge will resolve any issues involved in this contested divorce.

No Fault Divorce

Couples may file for no fault divorce in South Dakota on grounds of irreconcilable differences. There will be a 30-day waiting period before the divorce is finalized after your spouse signs the complaint.

Steps in the Divorce Process

To file for divorce in South Dakota, a plaintiff must file a complaint with the local family court. The complaint must then be officially served to the other spouse, either by the plaintiff, the sheriff or another adult. The spouse has 30 days to respond. If agreement cannot be reached during the pretrial process, a judge will resolve any areas of dispute.

Spousal Support

The court may award temporary or permanent alimony based on the following six factors:

• the marriage’s length

• the financial effects of the divorce upon each spouse

• age of both spouses

• health of both spouses

• financial resources of both spouses

• any at-fault complaints that led to the marriage if applicable

Child Support

Child support payments will be awarded after consulting the state’s official guidelines and financial tables. Exceptions from these standard amounts can be asked for on grounds including:

• any financial problems that would make the payments unfair

• income tax implications

• previous agreements between the parents

• custody and visitation rights that have been agreed to

Fathers’ and Mothers’ Rights

Judges are not allowed to take gender into consideration when awarding child custody in South Carolina. Marital misconduct will not be considered unless it has a direct bearing on any children’s well-being. Children who are deemed sufficiently mature will have their wishes taken into consideration.