South Dakota Divorce

Residency Requirements

The plaintiff in an action for divorce must, at the time the action is commenced, be a resident of this state, or be stationed in this state while a member of the armed services. Subsequently, the plaintiff need not maintain that residence or military presence to be granted a divorce.


Grounds for Divorce

Divorces may be granted for any of the following causes:

a) Adultery;
b) Extreme cruelty;
c) Willful desertion;
d) Willful neglect;
e) Habitual intemperance;
f) Conviction of felony;
g) Irreconcilable differences.


Division of Property

When a divorce is granted, the courts may make an equitable division of the property belonging to either or both, whether the title to such property is in the name of the husband or the wife.

In making such division of the property, the court shall have regard for equity and the circumstances of the parties. Fault shall not be taken into account with regard to the awarding of property.


Spousal Support

The court may in its discretion require one spouse to pay alimony to support the other spouse.


Child Custody

In awarding child custody, the court shall be guided by consideration of what appears to be for the best interests of the child in respect to the child’s temporal and mental and moral welfare.

If the child is of a sufficient age to form an intelligent preference, the court may consider that preference in determining the question. Fault shall not be taken into account with regard to the awarding of child custody, except as it may be relevant to the fitness of either parent in awarding the custody of children.


Child Support

In South Dakota, the combined monthly net incomes of both parents shall be used in determining the child support obligation, which shall be divided proportionately between the parents based upon their respective net incomes. The noncustodial parent’s proportionate share establishes the amount of the child support order. The monthly gross income of each parent includes amounts received from the following sources:

a) Compensation paid to an employee for personal services, whether salary, wages, commissions, bonus, or otherwise designated;
b) Self-employment income including gain, profit, or loss from a business, farm, or profession;
c) Periodic payments from pensions or retirement programs, including social security or veteran’s benefits, disability payments, or insurance contracts;
d) Interest, dividends, rentals, royalties, or other gain derived from investment of capital assets;
e) Gain or loss from the sale, trade, or conversion of capital assets;
f) Unemployment insurance benefits;
g) Worker’s compensation benefits; and
h) Benefits in lieu of compensation including military pay allowances.

Overtime wages, commissions, and bonuses may be excluded if the compensation is not a regular and recurring source of income for the parent. Income derived from seasonal employment shall be annualized to determine a monthly average income.

The parents of any child are under a legal duty to support their child until the child is 18, or until the child is 19 if the child is a full-time student in a secondary school.


South Dakota Resources


Laws & Courts:

South Dakota Law – state statutes. Title 25, Chapters 3 through 9B.
SD Unified Judicial System – this page contains court history information, a court calendar, court procedures and rules, and related links

Additional Resources:

State Bar of South Dakota – court opinion database, legal news and public information pamphlets are available from the state bar.
Children’s Rights Council – national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status.

Report broken links or send suggestions by contacting us.

Additional Links

The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.