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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  • Is it legal for someone to accept money or other things of value in an adoption in South Dakota?

    No. In fact, under South Dakota law, any person who offers, gives or receives any money, or other consideration or thing of value, in connection with the placing of any child for adoption, with the consent to adoption, or with the petition for adoption except for charges approved by the court and fees charged by licensed agencies is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

  • How long wlll it take to adopt?

    The time that it takes to adopt a child varies depending on the preferences and restrictions that you have. For example, you may be able to adopt a child from foster care or a child with special needs within a few months, while an international adoption may take years because it may involve multiple adoption agencies and immigration paperwork. If you are unwilling to wait for a long time, you should consider being more flexible in the types of children whom you are willing to consider.

  • Can you keep your farming operation after a South Dakota divorce?

    Possibly. Most people going through a divorce do not consider the option of keeping the farming operation intact. Typically, most thoughts go to dividing the farm/ranch assets and inventory. However, there is another option - keeping the business intact. This has several advantages, especially if this is a multi-generational farm family business.

  • Why should you be careful about posting on social media during Coronavirus?

    As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, most people in South Dakota are being encouraged to stay inside and socially isolate themselves from others in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. To find a distraction and some entertainment, this is resulting in more social media postings. Because of this, it is important to realize how these platforms can impact the outcome of divorce and custody proceedings. 

    You must be aware that improper social media posting can have a negative impact on your case. You should never make posts that are negatively directed to your former spouse or soon-to-be former spouse. Also, "debating" with your former spouse on social media can result in negative consequences. Discussing your case or bad-mouthing your partner will likely work against you.  

    Finally, other behavior that could impact the outcome of your divorce can include posting certain pictures. Posting pictures of you drinking or partying could be used against you in terms of child custody. Posting pictures of new purchases and vacations can result in arguments regarding alimony or child support payments. 

    Make sure that you're careful with your social media postings during this unprecedented time!

  • Does South Dakota recognize a same-sex marriage from another state?

    Yes. South Dakota does recognize a marriage between two persons of the same gender which was contracted from another state.

  • Where are my marriage license and related records kept in South Dakota?

    The South Dakota Department of Health maintains marriage licenses issued and records of marriages solemnized in our state.

  • Does a minor need the consent of a parent or guardian to marry?

    Yes. If either person is a minor, no marriage license can be granted unless the written consent of the person’s parent or guardian is filed with the county register of deeds.

  • My wife and I signed a premarital agreement before our marriage. My wife now wants to change this agreement. How can a premarital agreement be changed in South Dakota?

    In South Dakota, once the parties have been married, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties.

  • In South Dakota, how is child support figured?

    When parents are separated, divorced, or unmarried, South Dakota law establishes a schedule which courts must use to determine a parent’s child support obligation. In general, the combined monthly net incomes of both parents are used in determining the obligation and divided proportionately between the parents based on their respective net incomes. The noncustodial parent’s proportionate share establishes the amount of the child support obligation.

  • Do grandparents have visitation rights in South Dakota?

    Yes. In South Dakota, the court may grant grandparents reasonable rights of visitation with their grandchild, with or without petition by the grandparents, if the visitation is in the best interests of the grandchild and:

    • If the visitation will not significantly interfere with the parent-child relationship; or
    • If the parent or custodian of the grandchild has denied or prevented the grandparent reasonable opportunity to visit the grandchild.

    For more about grandparent visitation rights in South Dakota, download The South Dakota Child Custody and Divorce Handbook.