The Swier Law Firm Family Law FAQs

The Swier Law Firm Family Law FAQs

Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.

  • Page 1
  • In South Dakota, what is a contested divorce?


    Because uncontested divorces only exist in cases of total agreement, most of the cases in circuit court are considered “contested divorces,” those in which there are issues that remain in controversy (the spouses disagree about how to resolve them). In other words, even a seemingly minor issue can prevent a divorce from being “uncontested” as every single issue must be agreed upon before an agreement is complete and able to be approved by the circuit court.

  • In South Dakota, what is an uncontested divorce?


    In South Dakota, an “uncontested divorce” is a divorce where both spouses are in complete agreement regarding every single issue. This means that the parties agree on how to divide their assets (their stuff) and debts (their bills), about how to handle any child custody and visitation issues for their children, about who will make child support payments and any spousal support payment, as well as how much those payments will be, etc. The spouses have typically been able to reduce their agreement to writing, whether with or without the help of a family law attorney and there are no outstanding disagreements to resolve between them.

  • I live in Sioux Falls and have recently returned to work. Can a South Dakota child support order allocate child care expenses?

    Yes.  Under South Dakota law, a court may enter an order allocating reasonable child care expenses for the child, which are due to employment of either parent, job search of either parent, or the training or education of either parent necessary to obtain a job or enhance earning potential.

  • Does South Dakota have a "no fault" divorce?

    No. In South Dakota, you must have grounds for a divorce.

  • Can I receive alimony in South Dakota?


    Yes. A court in South Dakota may award alimony to one party, either temporarily or for an indefinite period of time. When making that decision, the court will consider both parties’ circumstances.

  • In South Dakota, what is temporary spousal support?


    It is common for attorneys to request temporary relief when a divorce has been started. These are basically temporary orders to help maintain the status quo and spell out the "ground rules" while the divorce action is pending.


    Issues such as child custody, support, and visitation are often addressed in these temporary orders. Other things which can also be included are temporary alimony, who will live in the family residence, and how the bills will be paid until the divorce is finalized. 

  • What is an uncontested divorce in South Dakota?


    An uncontested divorce is one in which there is no opposition to what is requested in the divorce complaint, or in which both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement of all issues (property and debt division, alimony, and child custody and support). 

  • How do I get a divorce in South Dakota?


    In South Dakota, a marriage can only be dissolved (1) by the death of one of the parties; or (2) by the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction decreeing a divorce of the parties.

  • Does a step-parent's income impact a child support obligation in South Dakota?


    Yes. The income of a step-parent can trigger the deviation in the child support guidelines that adjusts a party's support obligation based on the financial condition of a party. A child support deviation must be requested.

  • Are daycare expenses considered in my South Dakota child support calculation?


    Daycare expenses are not a part of the basic child support obligation. Child care expenses are only considered as a part of your child support obligation as a deviation from the schedule, which must be requested.