South Dakota Divorce Steps

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Divorce is a painful separation which occurs due to the major conflicts between partners. Though it is a legal matter that is operated by federal regulations of family laws, every state has the liberty to modify such rules according to its needs. Following are some specifications related to divorce steps in the South Dakota.

South Dakota Divorce Steps concerning to filing of an Answer

Any divorce case in South Dakota will start after the residency requirements are met by the applicant or the spouse. Otherwise, no case shall be entertained in the court. The residency condition for the state of South Dakota states that while filing for a petition for a divorce, an applicant should be a domiciled resident of this state and should continue the residency till the divorce procedure is completed.

Thus, after completion of formalities related to residency requirements, a petitioner can file a case either in the county where he or she resides. Otherwise, the case can be filed in the county of which the spouse is resident. A petitioner can appoint a lawyer to handle the case on his behalf. The further divorce steps can be explained as below:

  • The lawyer drafts the Complaint and the Summons
  • The complaint requests the court to award a divorce and comprises of the grounds of divorce as well as the demands of the Petitioner regarding topics like division of debts and property, alimony, visitation, child support and child custody
  • An "Admission of Service" is a document that mentions that the Respondent has received the divorce papers. If the Respondent signs this document, the expenditure of service would be saved
  • If the Respondent does not sign the Admission of Service, then a process server or the Sheriff is assigned the responsibility of service
  • If the Petitioner cannot locate the Respondent, then, the service is performed by publishing the Summons in a local newspaper
  • The Summons conveys the message to the Respondent, that the Respondent should file an Answer to the Complaint within thirty days of the date of service
  • If the Respondent fails to file an Answer within thirty days, then, after sixty days from the date of service, a default judgment is entered against such a Respondent. The case is treated as an uncontested divorce

Four types of South Dakota Divorce Steps

Mediation and Evaluation

  • If there are some disputes regarding visitation and custody between partners. The court might order mediation (except when found inappropriate) for development of a parenting plan
  • The divorcing parents are helped by a qualified mediator to draft a parenting plan during the mediation. They are encouraged to find out new solutions that are favorable for both of them
  • The court might order evaluation to be executed as an assistance to the court for issuing visitation and / or custody orders
  • The parties might agree how to share the expenses of mediation and evaluation. Alternately, the court might allocate the expenses
  • These process of mediation is suitable for partners as they can arrange the meetings according to their convenience. Also, if partners are on good terms with each other, mediation is the best option as it saves a lot of time and money

Contested Divorce

  • If it is considered that the Respondent has filed an Answer, wherein he or she disagrees regarding certain issues. Then, the court schedules a trial
  • During a trial, lawyers and attorneys play the important role as they can represent the parties in best manner using their legal expertise and experience
  • During the trial, the following take place:
    • Testimony of both parties and some witnesses
    • Presentation of evidences
  • The judge takes into the account the above mentioned points and arrives at a decision regarding those divorce issues in conflict
  • The orders of the court in this case are legally enforceable on the partners. Any failure to obey such finalized orders regarding divorce will be considered as an offense of the court.


  • Assume that the divorcing parties agree with each other regarding the various issues of divorce
  • Such parties prepare and sign a written agreement called as "Stipulation"
  • This stipulation is forwarded to the court for the approval of the judge
  • The divorce is granted solely on the basis of testimony of the parties


  • A default divorce comes into picture when the Respondent does not file an Answer to the service
  • In this situation, a divorce is granted to the Petitioner. Moreover, all that the Petitioner has requested in the Complaint is awarded to the Petitioner

Which divorce steps are prohibited in "Restraining Orders?"

  • Removal of any minor child of the divorcing partners from this state in the absence of written consent of the court or other partner
  • Disturbing or molesting the other partner's peaceful state
  • Disposition of any marital assets

So, this is an overall view of South Dakota divorce steps.

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