Get Answers to Your Highest Priority South Dakota Legal Questions
Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.
- Page 5
What does it mean to be served with divorce papers in South Dakota?
Giving notice to the other spouse that a divorce case has been started is called "service" and is done by giving ("serving") copies of the Summons and Complaint. There are rules governing proper service: either the party must be served by law enforcement or a licensed process server, or the other party can sign an Acceptance of Service form to be filed with the court.
Why is it important to set goals and make plans in a South Dakota divorce?
If you don’t know what your divorce goals are and you don’t have a plan, you may not like what you end up with at the end of the divorce. You have to put in the time and effort to decide what you want and make a plan for how to get it. That doesn’t guarantee you will get it, but at least you will have a better chance.
In South Dakota, If my spouse stops paying child support, can I stop him or her from seeing the kids?
No. Child support and child custody are two separate issues. It is in the best interest of children to have a relationship with both parents (absent abuse or neglect). If your spouse is not paying child support, you will need to take him or her to court to resolve the matter.
Why will alimony agreements in South Dakota be different in 2019?
There are many changes imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017, affecting divorcing spouses. One of the most significant provisions deals with the income tax impact associated with making and receiving alimony payments.
The Act eliminates Sections 215 and 71 of the Internal Revenue Code, which allowed spousal support payments to be deductible by the payor and includable as income to the payee. As a consequence, the income tax treatment of alimony is completely overturned. The payor can no longer deduct the payment of alimony and the payee is no longer required to include the payment on each of his or her respective income tax returns. This change to the treatment of alimony, unlike many other tax provisions included in the Act, is permanent and does not sunset on January 1, 2026.
My grandmother recently passed away in Spearfish and I've been told that she died "testate." What does "testate" mean?
In South Dakota, a person who dies with a will is said to have died "testate."
My grandfather lives in Brookings. In South Dakota, what happens if he passes away without a will?
Under South Dakota law, if your grandfather passes away without a will he is:
- Surrendering to the state of South Dakota the important decisions affecting the well-being and future security of his heirs
- At risk of having his property divided in a way that's not to his liking
- Foregoing any opportunities to reduce his taxes
I've just been appointed as Personal Representative of my uncle's estate in Madison. In South Dakota, can I be paid for my personal representative services?
Yes. Under South Dakota law, a Personal Representative is entitled to reasonable compensation for services.
How do I choose an attorney who is a good fit for my South Dakota divorce case?
Going through a divorce is a major life event, therefore it's vital that you choose an attorney you're absolutely comfortable with throughout the process. It's always good to get recommendations from those you trust most in your support network, but make sure you interview each attorney before making a final hiring decision.
If you find yourself sitting across from the attorney and you aren't at ease enough to tell them everything they need to know about your case, move on to the next name on the list. Most attorneys charge a consultation fee for these initial appointments, but that fee is far less expensive than paying thousands of dollars to retain an attorney you don't feel completely comfortable working with during your case.
What other estate planning documents should I have?
Besides a last will and testament or trust, everyone should have a financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and a living will.
If you want to know more about all 4 of these essential documents, please see our book Estate Planning in South Dakota.
What makes a “good” Last Will and Testament?
A good Last Will and Testament is comprehensive, clearly-written, easy to administer, and has the capability to stand up in court and fulfill your wishes.
Poorly written, out-of-date wills can leave behind headaches that can take years (and a lot of money) to fix. Wills crafted by concerned, yet untrained, friends or websites can often rob a family of its rightful inheritance. Who hasn’t heard the stories where people have forgotten to change their wills to reflect changing family relationships and situations?
Creating a valid and enforceable Last Will and Testament is not as easy as many people believe. If you expect your Last Will and Testament to do what you want it to do, you definitely need an attorney to help you. South Dakota's courts will not “guess” what you meant to write - they will read and interpret what is written according to the law . . . no matter the results.