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Legal Information: South Dakota


Laws current as of November 28, 2023

How is paternity established?

Paternity, also known as legal fatherhood, can be established at any time before the 18th birthday of your child in the following ways:

  • Presumed- if the parents are married or your child is born within 10 months of the divorce, the husband is automatically assumed (“presumed”) to be the legal father.However, if the biological father is not the husband, then a three-way paternity affidavit can be signed by the mother, the biological father, and the husband.2
  • Voluntarily- both parents sign a paternity affidavit under oath. This could be done at the hospital/clinic when your child is born or later on at the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Department of Health, or the local Register of Deeds Office.
  • Involuntarily- either parent may start administrative or legal proceedings to establish paternity. This will usually include genetic testing.2

1 SDCL § 25-5-3
2 “Voluntary Paternity Establishment,” South Dakota Department of Social Services.