South Dakota Divorce Laws

South Dakota Divorce

There are many happily married couples who are proud to proclaim they fell in love with their spouse at first sight. When that love is genuine then the rush to get married is just a formality. On the other side of the coin, there are an equal amount of people who rush into marriage only to realize it was a huge mistake.

According to South Dakota divorce laws, residents who file for divorce will be waiting at least sixty days before a final verdict can be rendered. The goal of this two month waiting period would be to have the couple work out any disputed claims. It might also be a chance for mediation to step in to see if the marriage can be salvaged. If not, a final ruling will be made. Before that can happen there are plenty of issues that a couple has to work through.

South Dakota Legal Separation Laws

The first steps towards a final divorce can be a legal separation. When this is granted by a South Dakota divorce court, all the same rules that apply to a divorce are in effect here. But in the eyes of the law, the couple is technically still married. Any arrangement for alimony, child support or custody will have to be worked out in advance before the separation can be granted.

South Dakota Grounds for Divorce

In some states, divorces fall into two categories: fault or no-fault. For South Dakota, couples need to prove the grounds for their divorce even if both sides agree that the marriage is over. The primary reason for most divorces is irreconcilable differences that can’t be mended.

Among the other legal grounds for divorce is when one of the partners has been caught cheating or has maintained a pattern of physical or emotional abuse. A partner who has also willfully abandoned their spouse is another cause for divorce. Finally, if a spouse becomes a convicted felon or abuses alcohol or drugs, divorce proceedings can also be engaged.

South Dakota Property Distribution

Like many other states, South Dakota is an equitable distribution state. This means that all property or assets that were acquired during the period of the marriage will be divided equally. It doesn’t matter who owns the property or who is at fault in the divorce. It is up to the judge to decide who gets what. That is why it is best to resolve these issues before even coming before the judge.

South Dakota Child Custody Laws

When child custody is a factor in a divorce, a South Dakota divorce judge will always strive to put the needs to the child first. In some cases, a child is considered mature enough to decide on their own whom they might want to live with. The judge can also consider the different living environments and what impact a move might have on a child’s education.

Child custody matters are resolved regardless of the gender. In other words, the mother and father are given equal consideration. However, if there is an issue of domestic abuse on either side then a judge will rule in favor of the victims.

For child support, the judge takes into account the net incomes of both spouses and the specific needs for the children like special medical or educational treatment.