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Legal Information: South Dakota


October 1, 2020

What else do I need to know about getting a divorce based on irreconcilable differences?

In addition to the fault-based grounds explained in What are the grounds for divorce in South Dakota?, the judge may grant you a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.” To get a divorce because of irreconcilable differences, one of the following must be true:

  1. you and your spouse must both agree (consent) to a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences; or
  2. the spouse who was served with the divorce petition does not appear in the divorce case (does not make a “general appearance”).1

Note: If it appears to the judge that there is a reasonable possibility of you and your spouse being able to save your marriage (reconciliation), the judge will continue the case for up to thirty days. During this time, the judge can enter a temporary order dealing with any of the following issues:

  • support (also called maintenance or alimony);
  • custody;
  • child support;
  • attorney fees; and
  • an order related to joint property.1

At any time after this thirty-day period ends, either spouse can file a motion in court for divorce (dissolution) or legal separation and the judge can grant it.1

1 S.D. Codified Laws § 25-4-17.2