Divorce Guide

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South Dakota No Fault Divorce


According to South Dakota no fault diovrce laws, one can get diovrce only on the basis of “no-fault divorce”. It means that a spouse need not prove the “fault” of the other spouse in order to get divorce in South Dakota. If a spouse states that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”, owing to “irreconcilable differences”, then the courts would grant no fault divorce.

Property division in South Dakota no fault divorce

South Dakota is an equitable property division state where the “marital property” acquired by the spouses during the course of marriage are equitably and fairly divided among the spouses. The division is not necessarily 50/50 as the judges would consider the financial needs of the spouses, age and their health, the lifestyle they have been leading. Etc. The separate property which the spouses may have individually acquired before the marriage or gotten as gifts or acquired after the divorce petition was filed is not touched, unless the judge feels that the marital property is unable to meet the requirements of the financially weaker spouse. In most of purely no fault divorce states, judges look into the “faults or wrongdoings” of the spouse to decide who is to get a larger share of the marital property.

In most of the no-fault divorce cases, spouses attempt to settle the matter of property division among themselves so as to avoid shelling money and wasting time in going for trial. It is only when the disputes are not being settled that the courts would intervene.

Child custody in South Dakota no fault divorce

The matter of child custody is generally settled “outside the court” between the spouses in most of the cases of SD no-fault divorce. It is because the spouse wish to avoid the child getting embroiled in custody battles. They may participate in custody mediation recommended by the courts where they would be formulating a sound parenting plan and visitation schedule. If the case is disputed over the matter of child custody, then the courts would intervene. Here, courts would look into the “best interest of the child” and follow SD child custody guidelines while awarding custody. If a parent proves in the court s that the presence of the other spouse is detrimental to the child, then custody decisions would be modified and custody would be granted to that parent who can provide complete security and welfare of the child.

Choosing no fault ground or fault grounds

Though one can get divorce only on no fault grounds basis in South Dakota, yet one may contest on the grounds of fault on issues concerning child custody or property division or spousal support. It is advisable to raise these matters and go for a divorce trial if one is sure to have an edge over the spouse on the matters that have been mentioned above. In case the divorce is no fault and uncontested, then one may choose filing a do-it-yourself divorce. Here, also one must be careful to understand all the legalities of the matter and then only have DIY divorce.


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