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.

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  • 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. 

  • Why would I need an expert in my South Dakota divorce case?

     

    If your case is complicated, you may need to hire experts to handle certain custody, financial, or property issues. These experts can include forensic custody evaluators, psychologists, psychiatrists, business evaluators, forensic accountants, financial advisors, or tax planners.

    Your attorney should have a list to recommend which experts are right for your case. If you can get a team of experts together, you won't need to worry about whether your soon-to-be ex-spouse is taking advantage of you in the divorce proceeding.    

  • Should I fight over every Christmas ornament and board game in my South Dakota divorce?

     

    Not usually. Unfortunately, some people going through a divorce will fight over every single piece of property. Don't do this. Those ugly Christmas ornaments that you despise? Those board games that you haven't played in ten years?

    You can spend thousands of dollars in attorney time fighting to keep them. The short-lived gratification you may get by retaining these items will only increase your stress. Deciding what is really most important to you will help reduce your stress during the divorce.  

  • 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.

  • Why is it important to keep updated during my South Dakota divorce case?

     

    You need to keep updated during your divorce case. Read over the documents your attorney sends you as soon as you receive them. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask. If you ask a question, your attorney should be able to help you answer that questions. In the end, getting an answer to a question will allow you to be more informed and more confident in the decisions you make.

     

    Don't "stick your head in the sand" when it comes to communicating with your attorney. Don't avoid opening mail, reading emails, and taking phone calls. This will lead to more stress in the long run. Many decisions in a family law case may be time-sensitive, so if you avoid contact, you may be damaging your case without realizing it.

  • 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.