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
  • What Is The Minimum Age For Getting Married In South Dakota?


    Any unmarried person who is eighteen (18) years old or older, and who is not otherwise disqualified, is capable of consenting to a marriage. However, if either person is between the age of sixteen and eighteen, he or she must provide the county register of deeds with a notarized statement of consent to marry from one parent or legal guardian.

  • In South Dakota, Can A Student Loan Be Considered Marital Property?

    Yes. Although an educational degree is not property subject to division, student-loan debt may be included in, and allocated as, a part of the marital estate.

  • Can domestic abuse be considered in a South Dakota child custody case?

    Yes. When making a custody determination, a South Dakota court “is required to consider a conviction of domestic abuse, a conviction of assault as defined, and a history of domestic abuse.”

  • In A South Dakota Divorce, Is A Spouse Required To Show A Need For Alimony?

    Yes. The spouse requesting alimony must establish "a need for support and that their spouse has sufficient means and abilities to provide for part or all of the need."

  • Is South Dakota An "All Property" State?

    Yes. South Dakota is an ‘all property state,’ meaning that ‘all property of either or both divorcing parties is subject to equitable division by the court, regardless of title or origin.’

  • Can Inherited Property Be Considered Marital Property In A South Dakota Divorce?

    Yes. In South Dakota, inherited property of one spouse can be considered marital property in a divorce.

  • Where Can I Find South Dakota's Child Support Calculator?

    South Dakota's Child Support Calculator can be found by clicking here.

  • What Are South Dakota's Divorce Residency Requirements?

    To receive a divorce in South Dakota, no length of residency or waiting period before beginning the action is required. However, you must be a resident in good faith and once the proceeding is started you must remain a resident of the state until the divorce is final.

  • What is South Dakota's Parental Relocation Law?

    Under South Dakota's Parental Relocation Law, if an existing custody order or other enforceable agreement does not expressly govern the relocation of the principal residence of a child, a parent who intends to change his or her principal residence must provide reasonable written notice by certified mail or admission of service to the other legal parent of the child. Reasonable notice is notice that is given at least forty-five days before relocation or a shorter period if reasonable under the specific facts giving rise to the relocation. Proof of the notice shall be filed with the court of record unless notice is waived by the court.

    However, no notice needs to be provided if:

                 (1)      The relocation results in the child moving closer to the noncustodial parent; or

                 (2)      The relocation is within the boundaries of the child's current school district; or

                 (3)      There is an existing valid protection order in favor of the child or the custodial parent against the noncustodial parent; or

                 (4)      Within the preceding twelve months, the nonrelocating parent has been convicted of violation of a protection order, criminal assault, child abuse, or other domestic violence and either the child or the custodial parent was the victim of the crime or violation.

  • In a South Dakota child custody case, what does "parental fitness" mean?

    When a South Dakota court determines child custody, it focuses on what is in the best interests of the child.  In making this decision, one of the primary factors is looking at "parental fitness."  When evaluating "parental fitness" a South Dakota court may consider the following factors:

    (1) mental and physical health;

    (2) capacity and disposition to provide the child with protection, food, clothing, medical care, and other basic needs;

    (3) ability to give the child love, affection, guidance, education and to impart the family's religion or creed;

    (4) willingness to maturely encourage and provide frequent and meaningful contact between the child and the other parent;

    (5) commitment to prepare the child for responsible adulthood, as well as to insure that the child experiences a fulfilling childhood; and

    (6) exemplary modeling so that the child witnesses firsthand what it means to be a good parent, a loving spouse, and a responsible citizen.