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South Dakota Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer South Dakota divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 3121
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that... more
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 3143
When the Defendant files an Answer within 30 days of service and both spouses file a Stipulation and Settlement Agreement, no hearing will be required to finalize the divorce because there is a provision in the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement stating that there is no necessity for a court hearing because the parties signed the Affidavit of Plaintiff and Defendant as to Jurisdiction and Grounds for Divorce.

However, if Defendant's Answer is not filed within 30 days after service, then Plaintiff should expect to attend a divorce hearing before the divorce can be finalized.
What are the South Dakota residency requirements for filing for divorce? 3147
The spouse filing for divorce (Plaintiff) must be a resident of South Dakota, or be stationed in South Dakota while a member of the armed services, at the time the divorce is filed. There is no length of residency or waiting period before filing divorce, although you must be a resident in good faith (meaning you didn't move to South Dakota just to obtain a divorce there) and once the divorce is filed, you must remain a resident of the state until the divorce is final.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in South Dakota? 3148
A no-fault divorce can be obtained in South Dakota if the spouses agree that they have irreconcilable differences.
Can I change my name in South Dakota divorce proceedings? 3157
Yes. A wife can have her maiden name or the name she legally bore prior to her marriage to the husband in the divorce suit restored.
How do I fix, or "amend" an error in a document I've already filed with the Court? 2934
If there was an error on one or more of the documents that you have already filed with the... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in South Dakota? 3156
No. There is no requirement that spouses live apart in order to obtain a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences in South Dakota.
Where can I find state-by-state information on how long it takes to get a divorce? 3834
Depending on the state where you live, it can take as little as two weeks and as much as s... more
Where do I file my divorce papers in South Dakota? 3141
In South Dakota, divorce are filed at the Circuit Court in the county where either spouse resides.
What is considered to be the date of separation in South Dakota? 3145
Spouses are not required to live separate and apart in South Dakota in order to get divorced. However, if you and your spouse do live at separate residences, the date that you began living apart is the date of separation.
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in South Dakota? 3154
In South Dakota, there is a 60-day waiting period beginning the day the Summons and Complaint are served on the Defendant before the divorce can be finalized.
How much is the filing fee in South Dakota? 3789
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in South Dakota is subject to change by the state, but is approximately $95.00.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in South Dakota? 3155
Formal service by a Sheriff or private process server is not required in South Dakota. Plaintiff can hand-deliver or mail a copy of the divorce papers to Defendant along with a Notice and Admission of Service of Summons and Complaint form. The Defendant signs the second half of this form when he or she receives the divorce documents from Plaintiff. Then, the Notice and Admission of Service of Summons and Complaint is filed with the Court Clerk.
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in South Dakota? 3151
The basic steps for getting a divorce in South Dakota are:
  1. The Plaintiff files a Summons and Complaint with the Circuit Court Clerk.
  2. Plaintiff either mails or hand-delivers a copy of the Summons and Complaint to the Defendant along with a few other documents for Defendant to sign and return to Plaintiff.
  3. Finalize the Divorce.
    Option 1: Divorce by Stipulation: The Defendant’s Answer and a few additional documents are filed with the Circuit Court Clerk within thirty (30) days of Defendant receiving the Summons and Complaint. The divorce will be finalized in approximately sixty (60) days without a hearing.
    Option 2: Divorce by Default: If the Defendant’s Answer is not filed within thirty (30) days, Plaintiff files a series of documents requesting a divorce by default. A divorce by default can be finalized after sixty (60) days, although Plaintiff must attend a brief court hearing first.
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What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody/parenting time? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
How is child support calculated in South Dakota? 3142
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

For more information on the calculation of child support in South Dakota, click here.
How is the cost of medical insurance apportioned between the parents in South Dakota? 3235
Pursuant to SDCL 25-7-6.16, the court shall enter an order addressing how the child's health care needs will be met by medical support to be provided by one or both of the parents. The medical support order shall include a provision for medical insurance if the insurance is accessible for the child and available to a parent at reasonable cost. Medical insurance is considered accessible if a medical insurance benefit plan is available and provides coverage for the child residing within the geographic area covered by the insurance policy. Medical insurance is considered reasonable in cost if the cost attributable to the child is equal to or less than eight percent of the parent's net income as determined under this chapter, and the amount shall be specified in the order for support.

The cost of the insurance attributable to the child is the cost of adding the child to existing coverage, the difference between self-only coverage and family coverage, or the cost of private medical insurance for the child. The cost attributable to the child under family coverage is the difference between self-only coverage and family coverage divided by the number of individuals, excluding the parent, enrolled in the family coverage. The cost so computed shall be apportioned between the parents on the basis of income or income imputed as provided in this chapter. If one parent pays the entire amount, that parent shall either be reimbursed by the other parent for that parent's portion of the payment or shall receive a credit against his or her support obligation, whichever is appropriate. Any additional, reasonable health care costs, including medical, optometric, dental or orthodontic, or counseling costs for each minor child which exceed two hundred fifty dollars in any year and are not covered by insurance, shall be apportioned between the parents in proportion to the support obligation of each parent. The parent that has primary physical custody of the child is responsible for the first two hundred fifty dollars of health care costs each calendar year.
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 3144
According to 25-7-6.10, a different child support amount than the standard amount under the South Dakota guidelines shall be considered upon any of the following factors:
(1) The income of a subsequent spouse or contribution of a third party to the income or expenses of that parent but only if the application of the schedule works a financial hardship on either parent;
(2) Any financial condition of either parent which would make application of the schedule inequitable. If the total amount of the child support obligation, including any adjustments for health insurance and child care costs, exceeds fifty percent of the obligor's monthly net income, it is presumed that the amount of the obligation imposes a financial hardship on the obligor. This presumption may be rebutted based upon other factors set forth in this section;
(3) Any necessary education or health care special needs of the child;
(4)The effect of agreements between the parents regarding extra forms of support for the direct benefit of the child;
>(5) The obligation of either parent to provide for subsequent natural children, adopted children, or stepchildren. However, an existing support order may not be modified solely for this reason; or
(6) The voluntary and unreasonable act of a parent which causes the parent to be unemployed or underemployed, unless the reduction of income is due to incarceration.

For more information on child support deviation in South Dakota, click here.
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Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? 757
It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city... more
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? 3811
One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the ma... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
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I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
Yes, as long as your spouse is capable of receiving documents and signing them in front of... more
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
Can I use divorce forms even though they contain gender-specific terms? 3230
One thing that has lagged behind following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwid... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nati... more
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Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... more
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If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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