Once you have made the difficult decision to obtain a divorce, there are many things to consider. It is important to educate yourself so you understand your basic rights and
responsibilities and have a general idea about the process involved for obtaining a divorce.
You need to meet some minimum requirements in order to be eligible for a divorce. In South Dakota, residency requirements must be met before the court will have jurisdiction to hear
the case. Also, there is a 60 day waiting period after the date of filing before the divorce will be granted.
In South Dakota, a divorce may be granted for the following reasons: (1) adultery; (2) extreme cruelty; (3) willful desertion; (4) willful neglect; (5) habitual intemperance; (6)
conviction of a felony; or (7) irreconcilable differences. Divorces can become complicated and involve issues such as child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. South Dakota is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that marital property will be divided in an equitable, or fair, manner. An attorney can help you navigate though the legal system and assist you to be sure you achieve a fair divorce settlement.
Before you contact an attorney, get a head start by gathering documents related to marital property, income, assets, income taxes and debts. Try to think about how you would like to
resolve issues such as the custody of children and the division of property. Your attorney will likely advise you to try to work out a settlement agreement with your spouse.
If you can reach agreement, you will save time and money – and emotional turmoil. If you cannot reach agreement, it can become very difficult on every level and expensive. Your
attorney will offer advice and recommendations; you will have to make the best decision you can under all the circumstances.