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Know the Laws: South Dakota

UPDATED February 5, 2015

Protection Orders due to Domestic Violence

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A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member.

Who can get a protection order

back to topWhat types of protection orders against domestic abuse are available? How long do they last?

There are two types of protection orders against domestic abuse available in South Dakota:

Temporary Orders. A temporary protection order is granted on an emergency basis.  You must be able to show the judge that you face immediate injury, loss or damage unless the order is granted.  A judge can grant you a temporary order even if your abuser does not know you are requesting it.  These are sometimes called ex parte orders.  A temporary order protects you for up to 30 days, or until the court hearing on your final protection order.  If a continuance is granted, the court must extend the ex parte temporary protection order until the rescheduled hearing date.*

Final Protection Orders. You must attend a court hearing to be awarded a final protection order.  The abuser will also be able to attend the hearing.  You will both have a chance to tell the judge your side of the story.  The length of time that protection orders are enforceable in South Dakota varies, and may not be for more than five years.**

* SDCL §§ 25-10-6; 25-10-7
** SDCL § 25-10-1

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back to topAm I eligible to file for a protection order against domestic abuse?

A protection order against domestic abuse protects you from abuse by any person in one of the following relationships with you:

  • your spouse or ex-spouse
  • anyone with whom you are in a significant romantic relationship (see below)
  • anyone with whom you have had a child or with whom you are expecting a child, (even if you were never married)
  • your parent or child (through blood, adoption, guardianship, or marriage)
  • your sibling or half-sibling (through blood, adoption, or marriage)*
To decide if your relationship is a “significant romantic relationship,” the judge will consider:
  • the length of the relationship;
  • how often you and the other party interact; and
  • the characteristics and type of relationship.**
If someone who is not in one of these relationships with you is hurting you, there are different laws designed to protect you.  You may be eligible for a protection order against stalking or physical injury.

Note: It may be possible for you to seek protection from a same-sex partner if you were in a significant romantic relationship with him/her.* However, judges do not always rule consistently in these cases.  Please talk to someone at a local domestic violence organization for help determining how a judge is likely to rule and for in positioning your case.  See SD State and Local Programs to find someone who can help.

The law does not address the process of how a minor (person under 18 years of age) can get a protection order. If you are a minor speak to a local domestic violence organization for help on how to get a protection order.

* SDCL § 25-10-3.1
** SDCL § 25-10-3.2

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back to topCan I get a protection order against a same sex partner?

Yes.  In South Dakota, you may apply for a protection order against a current or former same-sex partner that you live with or have lived with in the past.*  If you and the abuser have never lived together, you may be eligible for a protection order against stalking or physical injury. See What is a protection order against stalking or physical injury? for more information.

There may also be other legal options for you as well.  To find help in your state, please visit the SD Where to Find Help page.

* SDCL § 25-10-1(2)

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back to topHow much does it cost to file for a protection order? Do I need a lawyer?

There is no fee to file a final or temporary protection order.

You do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order. However, you may wish to have a lawyer, especially if your abuser has a lawyer.  If you can, contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance on the SD Finding a Lawyer page.  Domestic violence organizations in your area also should be able to help you through the legal process and may have lawyer referrals.  You can find a domestic violence organization in your area by visiting SD State and Local Programs page.

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