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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.