South Dakota Divorce Tips

Learn about divorce in South Dakota.

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What are the grounds for divorce in South Dakota?

South Dakota is a purely "no fault" divorce state, meaning that you cannot allege that your spouse's wrongdoing was the cause of the divorce. Most divorces are instead based on the grounds that the parties have irreconcilable differences that have led to the breakdown of the marriage. However, fault may be considered by the court as a factor in dividing property or awarding alimony. To learn more about how South Dakota uses fault as a determining factor in alimony and property issues, see Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce, by Emily Doskow (Nolo).

How is property divided at divorce in South Dakota?

South Dakota is an equitable division state. In an equitable division state, each spouse owns the income he or she earns during the marriage, and also has the right to manage any property that's in his or her name alone. But at divorce, whose name is on what property isn't the only deciding factor. Instead, the judge will divide marital property in a way that the judge considers fair, but won't necessarily be exactly equal.

What are the rules about child custody in South Dakota?

Like all states, South Dakota courts begin with a presumption that it's best for a child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. If possible, judges want to support joint custody arrangements. However, the exact nature of the time-share will be determined by the children's best interests. For more information, see Nolo's article Child Custody FAQ.

What are the rules about child support in South Dakota?

Like all states, South Dakota requires both parents to support their children, even after a divorce. The amount of child support depends primarily on each parent's income and other resources, and how much time each parent spends with the children. In addition, sometimes the courts will "impute" income to a parent who has the capacity to earn more than he or she actually is earning. To learn more about child support, see Nolo's Child Support area.

Does South Dakota have resources for do-it-yourself divorce?

Yes. You can usually get fill-in-the-blank forms at your local courthouse or the local law library. And you can go to this online resource for South Dakota, where you'll find extensive information about do-it-yourself divorce, along with court forms (in some states).

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