South Dakota Grounds for Divorce

The Complaint for Divorce is the initial document filed with the South Dakota court. It is in this document that the filing spouse will request the court to terminate the marriage under certain specified grounds.

Divorces may be granted by the court for any of the following reasons:

No-Fault Based Grounds:
(1)      Irreconcilable differences.   

      Fault Based Grounds:
(1)      Adultery; 2)      Extreme cruelty; (3)      Willful desertion; (4)      Willful neglect; (5)      Habitual intemperance; (6)      Conviction of felony;

Extreme cruelty is defined as the infliction of grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering upon the other, by one party to the marriage.

Willful desertion is defined as the voluntary separation of one of the married parties from the other with intent to desert.

Adultery is defined as the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one of the opposite sex to whom he or she is not married. (South Dakota Laws - Volume 9A - Title 25 - Chapters: 25-4-2, 25-4-17, 25-4-18)

Every divorce case that is filed in the state of South Dakota must declare the grounds in which the divorce is to be granted. The grounds for divorce must be substantiated with evidence or testimony otherwise the court may dismiss the case. When you are petitioning the court for a divorce, or agreeing to a divorce, make sure that you completely understand the grounds and any potential legal repercussions. If you would like to learn more about the South Dakota grounds, visit the South Dakota state statutes located at: