South Dakota South Dakota

Divorce Law Guide

South Dakota Divorce Overview

Residency Requirement
Living Separate & Apart
Processing Time
Filing Fee
60 days

The facts about divorce in South Dakota

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of severing a marriage contract, which is overseen by a court of law in the state in which one or both of the divorcing spouses live. The process for getting a divorce and acceptible grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

In South Dakota, a divorce can be completed on average in a minimum of 60 days, with court fees of $95.00. Unlike many states, South Dakota does not have any divorce residency requirements determining how long the appellant must have lived in South Dakota prior to filing for divorce.

On this page, you can learn about South Dakota's grounds for divorce, how the divorce process works, and about other parts of the divorce process, such as South Dakota alimony calculation, the property division process and more.

South Dakota Divorce Law Summary

In South Dakota a couple seeking a divorce can choose either no-fault grounds or can choose the option of filing on traditional fault grounds.

Grounds for divorce include:

  • adultery

  • extreme cruelty

  • willful desertion

  • willful neglect

  • habitual intemperance

  • conviction for a felony

There is no residence requirement to file a divorce in South Dakota. There is not a separation requirement prior before a divorce will be granted. The divorce may be filed in the either county in which the parties reside.

South Dakota Divorce Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

In state of South Dakota a number of factors are taken into account when ending a marriage.

1. South Dakota Grounds for Divorce FAQ

Is South Dakota a no-fault divorce state?

South Dakota allows no-fault divorces, which means that a divorce is granted without establishing the fault of either spouse for causing the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce in South Dakota may be "irreconcilable differences", or similar grounds.

Does South Dakota allow at-fault divorces?

In addition to no-fault grounds for divorce, South Dakota is a fault divorce state which provides the option to file for a traditional at-fault divorce. Suing for an at-fault divorce alleges that the filer's spouse is the cause of the divorce due to engaging in one of South Dakota's at-fault divorce grounds, such as adultery, abuse, or insanity.

In some cases, an at-fault divorce is pursued because it can entitle the suing spouse to a greater share of marital property or even punitive alimony payments if their partner's fault is proven. If their spouse contests these allegations, they may be challenged in court, which can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Does the state of South Dakota allow incompatibility as grounds for divorce?

Yes, South Dakota does allow incompatibility to be used as grounds for having a divorce.

Can you get a divorce in South Dakota for living separate and apart?

In divorce law, "living seperate and apart" refers to married spouses who are living separate from each other, not engaging in a traditional marital relationship, and do not intend to repair the marriage.

South Dakota does not allow a divorce to be granted solely on the grounds of living seperate and apart from your spouse. You must instead file for divorce under one of South Dakota's accepted grounds for divorce.

2. South Dakota Divorce Process FAQ

Does state of South Dakota allow legal separation?

Legal separation (otherwise known as "judicial separation") is a legal process that enables spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.

In some cases, South Dakota will grant a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately. This order may settle issues generally handled in a divorce such as property division and alimony. A legal separation may be followed up by a full divorce, or the spouses may later reconcile and end the separation while remaining legally married.

What's the difference between a divorce and an annulment in South Dakota?

While a divorce is the process of exiting a legally valid marriage, an annulment is the process of rendering a marriage null and void. An annulment makes it legally as if a marriage never took place to begin with.

Generally, annulment is used to conclude a marriage that should not have been legally recognized in the first place, such as a marriage where one of the spouses was unable to consent (by virtue of being underage, due to mental incapacity, or even intoxication), a marriage that was entered into under duress or via fraudulent means, or when one of the spouses was already legally married.

How long do I have to live in in the state of South Dakota to get a divorce?

There are no residency duration requirements in order to sue for a divorce in South Dakota. Any married couple in the state can file for divorce in South Dakota court.

What is the filing fee for a divorce in South Dakota?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a South Dakota court is $95.00. However, the total costs for a divorce can be much higher - especially in the case of a contested divorce, where attorney fees and mediation costs average from $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in South Dakota?

If the process moves along without holdups, the paperwork for a divorce in South Dakota can be processed in a minimum of 60 days. However, if the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce process, a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

3. South Dakota General Divorce FAQ

Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce?

Even if one spouse is opposed to getting a divorce, they cannot stop their partner from filing for and receiving a divorce in South Dakota. While filing a non-contested joint petition for divorce speeds up the process, either spouse can file for divorce individually at any time.

South Dakota permits spouses to sue for an at-fault divorce, and in this case their partner can contest the allegations in court. A non-fault petition for divorce, however, can generally not be contested by an unwilling spouse in South Dakota.

Does South Dakota have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce?

South Dakota has no mandatory waiting period between the finalization of a divorce and either of the ex-spouses getting remarried. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

What is the divorce rate in South Dakota?

According to the most recent CDC study, the yearly divorce rate in South Dakota is 9 per 1,000 total population. The national divorce rate is 6.9 per 1,000 total population. Various studies suggest that nationwide, 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Does South Dakota recognize same sex divorces?

Since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015, all states that previously did not allow same sex marriages, including South Dakota, are required by federal law to perform both same sex marriages and same sex divorces. In some cases, court forms or procedures may still need to be updated to support same sex couples.

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