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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
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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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