Now that you have made the decision to get a divorce, you likely want to move forward as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Divorce is never easy, but the divorce process in South Dakota can be fairly straightforward, especially if you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce – one where you agree on important factors like property division and child custody (if you have children). You might even qualify to file your divorce without a lawyer. In this case, you will need to fill out the appropriate divorce papers for South Dakota and submit them to the county court where you or your spouse resides.
Many couples in South Dakota use CompleteCase.com to complete their divorce forms online. With CompleteCase.com, you get the right forms for your circumstances and you get assistance in completing those forms.
If you and your spouse are struggling to come to terms that you can both agree upon in the divorce, you may benefit from mediated divorce. Mediation in South Dakota lets you meet with a professional mediator, someone who is skilled at helping divorcing couples come to difficult decisions about the divorce. If your situation is even more complicated, you may consider the services of a divorce attorney.
We gathered the following information to help you understand the basics of divorce in South Dakota, and how you can begin to move forward with your own divorce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in South Dakota in 2011 was 3.3 for every 1,000 residents. This divorce rate places South Dakota on the lower end of the spectrum of all US states. South Dakota requires that you be a resident of the state before you can file for divorce there. However, you can leave as soon as you have filed.
South Dakota allows fault-based and no-fault divorces. In a fault-based divorce, you must prove that your spouse was responsible for the divorce based on grounds accepted by the states. Some grounds for divorce accepted by South Dakota include extreme cruelty, adultery and willful desertion.
In a no-fault divorce, you do not need to place blame for the divorce. Instead, you just state that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences”. Many people prefer no-fault divorces because they are often faster and cheaper than a fault-based divorce.
The specific divorce papers you submit for South Dakota filing will depend on your individual circumstances – like if you and your spouse have minor children or not. You may also have to complete additional forms depending on the county where you file. It is always recommended that you contact the county court where you will file to verify that you are completing all the required forms.
Some of the common forms for divorce in South Dakota include the “Complaint (with or without children)”, the “Financial Affidavit” and the “Summons”. You can find a long list of divorce forms on the South Dakota Unified Judicial System website. The site has “A Guide for Representing Yourself in SD Courts” that you should also review thoroughly. The better educated you are on divorce in the state, the better equipped you will be to protect your interests during your divorce.
If you find the number of options a bit overwhelming, do not worry, you are not alone. Many people prefer to get their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com because it cuts through all the confusion. CompleteCase.com helps you choose the right forms for your divorce and helps you complete those documents correctly. This help can prove invaluable as you try to move forward with your divorce without any unnecessary delays.
Be sure to avoid signing your divorce forms until you are in the presence of a notary public. The state will only accept forms that are notarized. You may be able to get the help of a notary at the county court where you file, but it is best to verify this before you attempt to file.
When you have completed all of your divorce papers, online or offline, you will need to print at least three copies of each.. One copy you will submit to the court when you file. You will serve one copy to your spouse and you will keep one for your records. Before you leave to go to the court, it is a good idea to contact the county clerk and verify that you are bringing everything you need if you want to avoid possible delays in your filing. You can also ask about the state filing fee, and what form of payment the court accepts.
If you cannot afford the filing fee you may be able to get it waived. Ask the clerk for a waiver and submit it to request that the fee be waived. When you have filed with the clerk and paid, the clerk will stamp the documents with a date and a case number, and you will be ready to serve your spouse.
The last step of the filing process is to serve copies of the divorce paperwork to your spouse. This gives your spouse a chance to respond to the complaint and ensures that everyone is on the same page. If your spouse has hired an attorney, you will need to present the documents to the attorney instead of your spouse.
South Dakota requires that you meet certain requirements when serving the divorce papers. You have the option of mailing the documents to your spouse, but you need to be sure that he or she will accept the documents and sign a receipt that verifies delivery. You will need to file proof of this service with the court. You can also hire a sheriff or a private process server to serve the documents. Each of these will charge a fee, and each will give you proof that your spouse has been served. You will need to file this proof to finalize the filing process. If you cannot find your spouse, you will need to ask the court about the option of publishing notice of the divorce in the local paper.