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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  • 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. 

  • In South Dakota, do parents have an obligation to support their minor child?‚Äč

    Yes. In South Dakota, the parents of a minor child are jointly and severally obligated for the necessary maintenance, education, and support of the child.

  • In South Dakota, how is child support determined?

    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.

  • What are 3 ways I can create a better South Dakota parenting plan?

    When couples are faced with dividing their children’s time, one of the first questions asked is, “What type of visitation or parenting plan do you recommend for my situation?”

    This is similar to asking someone how they like their steak – the answers can be as varied as your imagination. With more cases being resolved through mediation, it is now more common to see a visitation schedule truly focused on the needs, schedules, and traditions of each individual family.

    Here are 3 tips to consider when designing a workable parenting plan:

    Work Schedules

    Keep in mind both parents’ work schedules. If one parent works late nights or most weekends, using a schedule where visitation periods fall during these times guarantees the child will spend a lot of time with babysitters instead of the parent. Look at periods of time when both the child and the parent are not working or attending school to build in extended visitation periods which maximize the parent-child bonding opportunities.

    School Calendar(s) and Children’s After-School Activities

    Depending on the child's school, the school calendar and after-school activities may dictate the schedule that will work best. The older a child gets and the more involved he or she becomes in school-based activities or sports, the more important it will be to allow spaces in the schedules for these activities - and to allow both parents to be involved.

    Family Holiday Traditions

    Just because the calendar designates a specific “holiday”  doesn't mean that you must include it in your parenting schedule. For instance, if a particular holiday means more to one parent, adjust the schedule to allow that parent to enjoy the whole holiday with the child and find another period of time to give the other parent an extended period to even things out. Both the child and parents win in these situations.  

  • In South Dakota, should my spouse and I share a divorce attorney?

    No. You definitely need to get your own divorce attorney. It is improper for an attorney to represent both the husband and wife in a South Dakota divorce.