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South Dakota Divorce Facts

When going through a divorce in in South Dakota, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of South Dakota should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of South Dakota Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified South Dakota Divorce Professional.

  • The petitioner must be a resident of South Dakota and remain a resident until a divorce decree is entered. A divorce may be filed in either the county where the plaintiff or the defendant lives. A 60-day waiting period transpires between service and the divorce.
  • The court may order a divorce based on the following grounds: irreconcilable differences, which is no-fault, or fault grounds that include adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, alcohol abuse and conviction of felony.
  • Spouses may separate, and agree to in writing, any provisions for child support, spousal support, and property division, on the same grounds as are required for the dissolution.
  • The court may order mediation to assist the parties in formulating or modifying a plan for custody or visitation. The court may also request that an investigation be conducted to help the court in deciding custody or visitation. The spouses share the cost of the mediation and/or the investigation.
  • South Dakota is an equitable distribution state. Marital assets will be distributed in an equitable fashion, regardless of who holds the title. Fault is not a factor unless it is relevant to the acquisition of the property during the marriage.
  • Either spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to the other party for a period of time as the court deems just.
  • The court may restore a woman's maiden name or the name she legally bore prior to her marriage to the husband in the divorce action.
  • The determination of child custody is based on the best interests of the child. If the child is old enough to form an intelligent preference, the court may consider it in determining custody. There is no preference towards either gender in determining custody. Unless it relates to the fitness as a parent, such as domestic abuse, or assault, or a conviction, excluding vehicular homicide, of a parent for the death of the other parent, fault is not considered relevant.
  • Child support is based on the Income Shares Model, which means that the combined monthly net incomes of both parents shall be used in determining the obligation and divided proportionately between the parents. The non-custodial parents share determines the level of child support to be awarded, based on the number of children from the marriage.
  • Premarital agreements must be written and signed. Premarital agreements may include provisions that define the respective property rights of the parties during the marriage, or upon the death of either or both of the parties. The agreement may provide for the disposition of marital property upon a divorce or separation of the parties, but may not adversely affect the right of child support.

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