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South Dakota Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the South Dakota Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Plaintiff

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Defendant

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
State of South Dakota, County of ____________, In the Circuit Court, __________ Judicial District

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of South Dakota. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
http://www.state.sd.us/social/CSE/index.htm

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Complaint for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the South Dakota Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decree of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the South Dakota Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
Office of the Clerk of the County Circuit Court

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

The grounds for legal separation (separate maintenance) in South Dakota are the same as for divorce. The spouse filing for legal separation must be a resident of South Dakota or a member of the Armed Forces stationed in South Dakota at the time of the filing and must remain a resident until the legal separation is final. [South Dakota Codified Laws; Title 25, Chapters 25-4-17.2 and 25-4-40].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable South Dakota law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.