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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 among states, there can be variations about when and where you can file, the grounds for granting a divorce, and how a court determines spousal supportchild support, and the division of marital property.

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of 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 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, chronic mental illness (existing for five years or more, while under confinement by order of a court of record or the Board of Mental Illness as provided by law), and conviction of a 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 their 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. of South Dakota Codified Laws

Residency Requirements

Plaintiff filing for divorce must be a state resident at the time the action is commenced

Waiting Period

60 days after service upon the defendant

"No-Fault" Grounds for Divorce

Irreconcilable differences

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; chronic mental illness (for five years or more, with other requirements); the conviction of a felony

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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, on these pages. Divorce can be a long, emotional process that involves considerable legal work. Speaking with a local divorce lawyer should be the first step.

Get Legal Help With Your South Dakota Divorce

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.

Get started today by reaching out to an experienced South Dakota divorce attorney.

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