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South Dakota Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

When is a marriage not a marriage? When it was never a marriage in the first place. While there is some variation, all states have laws prohibiting some marriages and a method for annulling (voiding) marriages that are legally invalid. Below is a summary of South Dakota's laws related to annulments and prohibited marriages.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

South Dakota adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman,  prohibiting same-sex marriages. Similar restrictions were created within the statutory code. However, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court threw out all of these legal barriers to same-sex marriage. In Obergefell v. Hodges the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that state bans on same-sex marriages violate the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection.  

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2015, states have not been able to enforce laws against same-sex marriage. On December 13, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act. It codifies protections for same-sex marriage. 

Breakdown of Laws Related to Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages in South Dakota

The chart below contains a breakdown of laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages in South Dakota.

Grounds for Annulment

As per South Dakota Chapter 25-3 marriages can be declared void and annulled for the following reasons:
  • Bigamy
  • Unsound Mind
  • Underage
  • Forced Consent
  • Fraud
  • Physical Incapacity

Time Limits for Obtaining an Annulment

Usually four years, but differs by condition South Dakota Chapter 25-3

Legitimacy of Children

Under relevant laws within South Dakota, children born to a legally invalid marriage or a marriage that has been civilly annulled are considered legitimate.

Prohibited Marriages

  • Under S.D. 25-3-1, bigamous marriages are prohibited. Bigamous marriages are defined as marriages to more than one person.
  • Under sub-parts of S.D. 25-3, marriages are considered legally invalid under a variety of circumstances. The following are examples of those circumstances:
    • If one of the parties entered the marriage while being of an unsound mind, and
    • If one of the parties could not consent to the marriage due to being under the age of consent or having a mental condition that interferes with the ability to consent.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Other Resources

Marriage and annulment questions often arise in difficult circumstances. You can read more about marriage laws and research applicable laws in your state. For anyone who needs to know more about marriage laws or who might seek an annulment, we recommend speaking with a local family law attorney.

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