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South Dakota Family Law on Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, referred to as domestic abuse in South Dakota, is committed when one family member abuses another family member. The table below outlines South Dakota's domestic violence law with regard to it's family law implications.

Code Section

South Dakota Code chapter 10: Protection from Domestic Abuse

What's Prohibited?

Domestic abuse occurs when an offender causes physical harm or bodily injury, attempts to cause physical harm or bodily injury, or inflicts the fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury against a family member.

Definition of "Family Member"

Under South Dakota's domestic abuse law, a "family member" is limited to:
  • Spouses or former spouses
  • People in a significant romantic relationship
  • People who have a child together or who are expecting a child
  • People in a parent – child relationship, and
  • Siblings

Relief from Domestic Violence

Domestic violence survivors can help protect themselves and their children from future abuse by petitioning the court for a restraining order. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that domestic violence has taken place, the court may:

  • Restrain the abuser from committing future acts of domestic violence
  • Exclude the abuser from the parties' shared residence
  • Award temporary custody or establish temporary visitation regarding the parties' minor children
  • Establish temporary support for the parties' minor children
  • Order the abusing party to obtain counseling, and
  • Order other relief as the court deems necessary

Court protective orders can't guarantee that domestic violence won't occur again, but they can help deter abuse by allowing the victim to have the abuser arrested if any provision in the order is violated.

Divorce and Domestic Abuse

In South Dakota, divorce and domestic abuse proceedings between spouses can be filed and proceed independently of each other. There is no requirement that the victim of domestic violence must seek a divorce before a criminal proceeding for domestic abuse can be instigated against the victim's spouse. Additionally, a domestic abuse action won't be dismissed or delayed on account of a pending divorce between the parties (unless agreed to by both parties, including the victim).

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about South Dakota's family law on domestic violence contact a local family law attorney or criminal defense lawyer.

If you're a domestic violence survivor there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911 and when you're safe contact South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic & Sexual Violence.

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