South Dakota Divorce Laws

Divorce proceedings fall under state law. All states have their own legal requirements for divorce and each has its own legal process for dissolving a marriage. While for the most part divorce laws are similar wherever you live, there can be variations in when and where you can file, the grounds for granting a divorce, and how a court determines spousal support, child support, and the fate of marital property. What follows is a brief summary of divorce laws in South Dakota.

South Dakota Divorce Laws at a Glance

South Dakota law requires anyone filing for divorce to be a state resident at the time. Residency does not have to be maintained through the time of a court granting a divorce; it’s enough to live in the state at the time of filing. There’s also a built-in waiting period from the filing an action for divorce until a court will hear it. Courts will wait at least sixty days from the filing of a divorce action before hearing the case. Alimony and child custody provisions can still be determined during the interval.

South Dakota recognizes both “fault” and “no fault” divorce. A fault divorce action places blame for the divorce on one party while a no fault divorce claims “irreconcilable differences” between two spouses justify a divorce. South Dakota permits fault divorce on six grounds: adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, habitual intemperance, and conviction of felony.

However, fault allegations must be proven and there are legal defenses available. These include cases when the filing spouse connives or colludes with the other spouse or condones his or her conduct. Alleging fault can affect custody decisions, alimony and support awards, and the division of marital property between spouses. The state’s divorce statutes and case law further define the grounds for (and defenses against) granting a divorce.

Code Section 25-4-1, et seq.
Residency Requirements Plaintiff filing for divorce must be a state resident at time action is commenced.
Waiting Period Courts will not hear actions for divorce within sixty days of the complaint and service of summons being served on the defendant. Additional continuances can be granted.
”No Fault” Grounds for Divorce Yes, called “irreconcilable differences” in South Dakota.
Defenses to a Divorce Filing Connivance; collusion; condonation; limitation or time lapse.
Other Grounds for Divorce Adultery; extreme cruelty; willful desertion; willful neglect; habitual intemperance; conviction of felony.

Related Resources for Divorce

You can find more information about divorce, including how spousal support works and the manner in which marital property is divided, in these pages. Filing for a receiving a divorce can be a long, emotional process and involves considerable legal work. Speaking with a local divorce lawyer should be the first step.

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Divorces can be legally and emotionally stressful -- especially if you've never gone through the process before. If you have questions about South Dakota's divorce laws including the process and procedures, you'll want to speak with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction. You can start the process now by getting a free initial case review at no obligation.

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