You never thought your marriage wouldn’t work out, but here you are. Your relationship has been on the rocks for a while, and despite your best efforts to make things better, things just aren’t improving. So, you’re ready to file for divorce, but you want to understand how the whole process works and have some questions you want answered before you file your petition.
There are so many questions a person may have about the divorce process — how it works, what to expect, how long it will take, and the like. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions South Dakota residents have about divorce.
Is South Dakota a fault or no-fault state?
There are certain grounds for divorce in South Dakota. Some of them include:
- Willful neglect
- Extreme cruelty
- Willful desertion
- Chronic mental illness
- Felony conviction
If there isn’t a specific purpose you’d like to list as your reason for divorce, it is also possible to claim irreconcilable differences. However, both you and your spouse have to agree to cite this reason.
How long does the divorce process take?
The length of the process is different for everyone, but it will take a minimum of 60 days after serving summons — as this is the state’s required waiting period. During those 60 days, you can accomplish a lot. If you reach settlement terms during that time, as soon as the 60 days are up, a judge can issue the divorce decree. If it takes longer than that to reach terms, it is okay. Legal counsel can help you get through the dissolution process as quickly as possible.
Will you have to go to court?
Possibly. There are several different ways to work through the divorce process. There is a default divorce, which means your spouse does nothing to respond to or contest the filing, and a judge will grant you everything you asked for. There is a stipulation divorce, which means you and your spouse have reached terms you both agree to — either through private negotiations, mediation or collaboration. Finally, there is a contested divorce, which one typically handles in court.
What issues will the court address during the divorce process?
There are a number of issues addressed during the divorce process. They include:
- Custody of children
- Asset division
- Child support
- Division of debts
- Attorney fees
- Restoration of a former name
In other words, marital dissolution covers a lot of ground. Legal counsel can help you achieve settlement terms that best serve your interests.
Have more questions?
If you have more questions, know that answers are out there. Write them down so that, when ready to move forward with your divorce, you have them handy to ask legal counsel who will be able to provide answers that apply specifically to your case.