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South Dakota Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

Process servers in the state of South Dakota are not licensed. Anyone over 18 years old who is not a party to the case may serve divorce papers.

Serving Process

The summons must be legible and subscribed by the plaintiff or his or her attorney and include the subscriber's address. The summons may be served without the complaint, but it must state where the complaint is or will be filed. It is directed to the defendant, and requires him to answer the complaint and serve a copy of his answer on the subscriber at the subscriber's address within 30 days after the service of the summons, exclusive of the day of service. It notifies the defendant that failure to answer means a default judgment against him or her as requested in the complaint.

The summons is served by personally delivering it to the defendant.

Substituted personal service of summons may be effected when the defendant cannot be found conveniently. Service to a member of the defendant’s family over the age of 14 (or if the defendant resides in the family of another, with a member of such age of the family with which he resides) constitutes substituted personal service.

A summons may be served upon a defendant in a divorce action by mailing a copy of the summons, two copies of the notice and admission of service, and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender. The notice and admission of service states that the failure to sign and return the admission of service within 20 days after the date of mailing without good cause means the court orders the defendant to pay the costs of personal service. Unless the defendant shows good cause for not returning the admission of service to the sender within 20 days of mailing, the court orders the payment of the costs of personal service to be paid by the defendant in the action.

Service is made and the summons returned with proof of the service, with all reasonable diligence, to the plaintiff’s attorney, if any, otherwise to the plaintiff. The plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney may, by endorsement on the summons, fix a time for the service thereof, and the service shall be made accordingly. Proof of the service of the summons and complaint states the time, place, and manner of service or of publication and mailing.

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