Legal Information: South Dakota

South Dakota Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Protection Orders due to Domestic Violence

Basic information

What is a protection order?

A protection order (sometimes called a restraining order) is paper which is signed by a judge and tells your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic abuse to both women and men victims. A protection order can protect you for up to five years.1

1 SDCL § 25-10-1(3)

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in South Dakota?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection order against domestic abuse. Domestic violence in South Dakota is when a family or household member does any of the following to you:

  • causes physical harm or bodily injury;
  • attempts to cause physical harm or bodily injury;
  • inflicts fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury; and/or
  • stalks you.1

1 SDCL § 25-10-1(1)

What 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 ex parte order even if the abuser does not know you are requesting it. An ex parte temporary protection order is effective for a period of thirty days (until the court hearing on your final protection order) unless the judge believes there is “good cause” to grant a continuance for another thirty days. Note: A continuance can be for longer than thirty days if the parties agree or if law enforcement cannot find the respondent to serve him/her with the ex parte protection order. If a continuance is granted, the court must extend the ex parte temporary protection order until the rescheduled hearing date.1

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. A final protection order can last for up to five years.2

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

What protections can I get in a protection order?

A protection order can:

  • order the abuser to avoid all personal contact with you;
  • order the abuser to move out of and/or stay away from your home, business, school or other locations;
  • order the abuser to stop all harassing, threatening and violent behavior;
  • order temporary custody and/or visitation;
  • order temporary child support;
  • order the abuser to attend counseling;
  • order parenting classes by the Dept. of Social Services;
  • order the abuser to surrender all firearms, and bar him/her from buying or transporting firearms;
  • order the abuser to do anything else you ask for and the judge agrees to.1

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 SDCL § 25-10-5

In which county can I file for a protection order?

You can file a petition in the county where you live, or in the county where the abuser lives.1

1 SDCL § 25-10-2

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Who can get a protection order

Am 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/were in a “significant romantic relationship” (if the relationship has ended, it must have ended within the last 12 months); 
  • 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); or
  • your sibling or half-sibling (through blood, adoption, or marriage).1

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.2

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, physical injury, or a crime of violence.

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.

1 SDCL § 25-10-3.1
2 SDCL § 25-10-3.2

Can I get a protection order against a same-sex partner?

In South Dakota, you may apply for a protection order against domestic abuse against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to file for a protection order against domestic abuse?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in South Dakota?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

How 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 Advocates and Shelters page.

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

The steps for getting a protection order

Step 1 - Get the necessary forms.

To start your case, you will need to fill out the necessary forms for a protection order.  You can file a petition in the county where you live, or in the county where the abuser lives.  You can find the forms from the civil clerk at the courthouse, but you may want to find them before you go and fill them out at home or with an advocate from a local domestic violence program.  You will find links to forms online on the SD Download Court Forms page.  Most shelters and other domestic violence prevention organizations can provide support for you while you fill out these papers and go to court.  Go to SD Advocates and Shelters to find an organization in your area.

Step 2 - Carefully fill out the forms.

On the petition, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.”

On the petition, in the box provided for explaining why you want the protection order, write briefly about incidents of violence, starting with the most recent, using specific language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Clerks and magistrates can show you which blanks to fill in, but they cannot help you decide what to write.

It may also be useful to bring identifying information about the abuser such as a photo (which may be used in serving the order to respondent) and addresses of residence and employment.

Note: Do not sign the forms until you are in front of a notary or a clerk. The clerk can usually notarize the forms for you.

Step 3 - Go to the courthouse to file the forms.

You will need to file the forms in the county courthouse where you live, where your abuser lives, or where the abuse occurred.  To file the forms, during business hours, go to the Clerk of Civil Court.  Tell the clerk that you want to file for a protection order against domestic violence.  If you need emergency protection, also tell the clerk you need temporary order.  To find contact information for the courthouse in your area, click on SD Courthouse Locations.

Step 4 - A judge will review your application.

After you finish filling out your application, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition. If the judge believes you or your child are in serious and immediate danger, s/he may give you an ex parte (temporary) order which is good for 30 days, until your full court hearing.

Whether the judge grants you a temporary order or not, you may be given a court date for a full court “hearing” within 30 days (assuming your petiton is not dismissed). This hearing will be in front of a judge at the time shown on the notice of hearing. At this hearing, you and the abuser will both have a chance to explain your sides to the judge.

Note: If you received an ex parte (temporary) order, keep a copy of it with you at all times.

Step 5 - Service of process

After the judge reviews your petition, take all of the forms, to the sheriff’s or police department so they can serve the defendant with notice of the hearing. “Notice of the Hearing” is the document that tells the defendant where and when to appear for the full court hearing.

You will have to provide some contact information for the defendant so the sheriff can find him. The defendant must receive notice of a hearing from the sheriff. If the defendant does not receive notice, the hearing will be rescheduled.

Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself. The sheriff or police are required to notify you when the order is served.1

Note: Protection orders may or may not be enforceable prior to the abuser being served, depending on which county you live in.

1 SDCL § 25-10-7

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

Step 6 - Full court hearing

You must go to the hearing.  If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire.  It may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.  If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a final protection order or may reschedule the hearing.

You may wish to hire a lawyer to help with your case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  You can also represent yourself.  If the abuser shows up with a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a “continuance” (a later court date) so that you have time to find a lawyer.  Go to SD Finding a Lawyer to find help in your area.

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in South Dakota have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some things you may want to consider doing.  However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse.  If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the protection order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local police, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

One week after court, you may want to call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the protection order from the clerk.

You may also wish to make a safety plan.  People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.  Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips

I was not granted a protective order. What are my options?

If you are not granted protection order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe.  It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe.  They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need.  For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Tips page.  You will find a list of South Dakota resources on our SD Places that Help page.

If you were not granted a protection order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a family or household member, you may be able to seek protection through a stalking or physical injury order.  You will find more information about this process in the Stalking or Physical Injury Order section of this page.

You may also be able to reapply for a protection order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.

If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to someone at a domestic violence organization or a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal.  Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal). If the abuser violates the protection order, you can call 911 to report it to law enforcement. Tell the officers you have a protection order and the abuser is violating it. The abuser can be arrested and prosecuted. Violation of an order can be a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation involves simple assault, aggravated assault, or stalking, it is a Class 6 felony.1 To see the other reasons that a violation of an order of protection can be a Class 6 felony or higher, read section 25-10-13 on our Selected South Dakota Statutes page.

It is generally a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. Also make sure that the police write a report on the incident even if the abuser is not arrested. This could be valuable legal documentation if you need to prove a violation of the order in the future. If the police do not arrest the abuser, you may be able to file a criminal complaint yourself. You can call your local police department or district court to obtain a complaint form.

Through the Civil Court System (Civil). You may also file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser is in “civil contempt” if s/he does anything that your protection order tells him or her not to do. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office in the court that issued your order and ask for the petition.

For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.

1 SDCL § 25-10-13

How do I change or extend the permanent order?

To modify or extend your order, go back to the court where you got it and file a petition with the clerk. If you are filing to extend your order, you must request this renewal before your original order expires.

You can file a motion to modify at the court. The court will assign you a hearing date. The abuser must be served with this form. You will most likely have another full court hearing.1

1 SDCL § 25-10-10

What happens if I move?

If you move within South Dakota, your order will still be valid and good.  It is a good idea to call the clerk to change your address.

Additionally, the federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. territories and tribal lands.  Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area.  If you are moving out of state, you should call a domestic violence program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders.  If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111, ext. 2) for information on enforcing your order there.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

Protection Orders Against Stalking, Physical Injury, or a Crime of Violence

A civil order that protects victims who were injured or stalked by a non-family member or non-household member.

What is a protection order against stalking, physical injury, or a crime of violence?

If your relationship does not meet the requirements to obtain a domestic violence protection order, you may be able to file for a protection order against stalking, physical injury, or a crime of violence. This means that you can get one against anyone who is stalking you or physically injuring you. This includes neighbors, friends, landlords, tenants, coworkers, or other people who are not “family or household members.”

In order to qualify for this protection order, you must be the victim of stalking or physically injured as a result of an assault or a “crime of violence,” as defined below.

Stalking is when a person:

  • follows or harasses you in a willful and malicious manner more than once and the harassment seriously alarms or annoys you; or
  • makes threats against you with the intent to make you fearful of great bodily harm.1

Crime of violence is when the one of the following crimes is committed against you:

  • murder;
  • manslaughter;
  • rape;
  • criminal pedophilia, which is sexual penetration of a victim less than thirteen years of age by any person twenty-six years of age or older;
  • aggravated assault;
  • riot;
  • robbery;
  • burglary;
  • arson;
  • kidnapping;
  • felony sexual contact, which includes:
    • sexual contact by someone over the age of 16 against someone under the age of 16; or
    • certain types of incest;
  • felony child abuse;
  • any other felony that involves the use of force, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or destructive device.2

Note: A victim of stalking or a crime of violence is eligible to file for a protection order whether or not the police were contacted or criminal charges were pressed.3

1 SDCL § 22-19A-1
2 SDCL § 22-1-2(9)
3 SDCL § 22-19A-8(3)

What protections can I get in this type of protection order?

A stalking or physical injury order can last for up to five years and can:

  • order that the abuser avoid all personal contact with you;
  • order that the abuser move out of and/or stay away from your home, business, school or other locations;
  • order that the abuser stop all harassing, threatening and violent behavior;
  • forbid the abuser from owning, possessing or buying firearms; and
  • grant any other measures that the court sees as reasonable and necessary to protect you.1

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

To file for a stalking or physical injury protection order, you must go to a court in your area and file an application.  The process to obtain a stalking or physical injury protection order is very similar to the steps for getting a domestic violence protection order.  Although the process will be similar, the forms you fill out may be different.  A court clerk can help you get the paperwork you need.

1 SDCL § 22-19A-11

Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders

Getting an order

What is the legal definition of vulnerable adult abuse?

To file for an order, you (a “vulnerable adult”) must have experienced any of the following acts committed by a caretaker, family or household member, or a person who is in a “confidential relationship” with you:

  • emotional and psychological abuse, which includes repeatedly doing any of the following:
    • a sexual act or the simulation of a sexual act directed at you and without your consent that involves nudity or is obscene;
    • unreasonable confinement;
    • harm or damage or destruction of your property or pets; or
    • ridiculing or demeaning conduct, derogatory remarks, verbal harassment, or threats to cause physical or emotional and psychological abuse;
  • financial exploitation, which means wrongfully taking or controlling your property with the intent to defraud you;
  • neglect, which is when a caretaker causes harm to your health or welfare without a reasonable medical excuse, including the failure to provide you with sufficient food, clothing, shelter, or medical care;
  • physical abuse, which is physical harm, bodily injury, the attempt to cause physical harm or injury, or fear of immediate physical harm or bodily injury.1

1 SDCL §§ 21-65-1(4), (13); 22-46-1(4) – (7)

Who is considered to be a "vulnerable adult" and who can file a petition for an order?

The following people can file for a vulnerable adult protection order:

  1. a “vulnerable adult,” which the law defines as:
    • someone who is sixty-five or older who is unable to protect himself/herself from abuse as a result of age or a mental or physical condition; or
    • an adult of any age with a disability; or
  2. a vulnerable adult’s spouse, relative, household member, caregiver, or fiduciary who is filing on behalf of the vulnerable adult. Note: A “fiduciary” is someone who has the legal power to act on another’s behalf.1

1 SDCL § 21-65-1(10), (14), (15)

What types of orders are there and how long do they last?

There are two types of orders, ex parte and permanent.

An ex parte temporary order can be issued without the abuser being notified beforehand if the petition alleges that the vulnerable adult is in present danger of vulnerable adult abuse. An ex parte temporary protection order generally lasts for 30 days. 1

A permanent protection order can be issued after a hearing where both parties have the right to appear. A permanent protection order can last up to five years.2

1 SDCL §§ 21-65-8; 21-65-3
2 SDCL § 21-65-11

What protections can I get in a vulnerable adult protection order?

In an ex parte temporary order, the judge can grant any protections that the judge believes are proper, including:

  • ordering the abuser to not commit vulnerable adult abuse; and
  • removing (excluding) any person from the home of the vulnerable adult.1

In a permanent order, the judge can grant any protections that the judge believes are proper, including:

  • ordering the abuser to not commit vulnerable adult abuse;
  • if the respondent and the vulnerable adult are both owners, tenants, living in the same home, or are married to each other, ordering the respondent to move out of the home;
  • ordering the respondent to provide suitable alternative housing for the vulnerable adult;
  • allowing either party who is leaving the home to get their personal property along with a police escort;
  • prohibiting the respondent from entering or attempting to enter any location that the judge believes is necessary to prevent further abuse;
  • prohibiting the respondent from exercising any legal powers on behalf of the vulnerable adult;
  • prohibiting the respondent from exercising control over the funds, benefits, property, resources, belongings, or assets of the vulnerable adult and requiring them to be turned back over to the vulnerable adult;
  • requiring the respondent to follow the instructions of the guardian, conservator, or attorney-in-fact of the vulnerable adult; and
  • anything else that the judge believes is necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of the vulnerable adult. 2

1 SDCL § 21-65-3
2 SDCL §§ 21-65-11; 21-65-12

In which county do I file a petition?

A petition for a vulnerable adult protection order can be filed in the circuit court or in a magistrate court in the county where the vulnerable adult lives or in the county where the abuser lives.1

1 SDCL § 21-65-2

After an order is issued

Can my order be changed or extended?

Either party can file to change (amend) or extend an order at any time.

The judge can extend an order if, after a hearing, the judge believes that any of the following are true:

  1. the respondent continues to pose a threat to the safety of:
    • the vulnerable adult;
    • a person living with the vulnerable adult; or
    • a member of the vulnerable adult’s immediate family; or
  2. the respondent continues to present a risk of financial exploitation of the vulnerable adult.1

An order can be extended multiple times; there is no limit.1

1 SDCL § 21-65-14

What happens if the abuser violates the order?

Violation of a temporary or permanent order can be a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation involves simple assault, it is a Class 6 felony.1 To see the other reasons that a violation of an order of protection can be a Class 6 felony or higher, read section 25-10-19 on our Selected South Dakota Statutes page.

1 SDCL § 21-65-19

Moving to Another State with Your South Dakota Protection Order

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your protection order can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my protection order from South Dakota enforced in another state?

Yes.  If you have a valid South Dakota protection order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state.  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid protection orders granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.  See “How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?” to find out if your protection order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state protection orders in the same way it enforces its own orders.  If the abuser violates your out-of-state protection order, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated.  This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?

A protection order is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent, threatening, or harassing behavior against another person, or it was issued to forbid contact or communication with another person.
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case.  (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case).
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
  • In the case of ex parte and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.1

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 USC § 2265

I have a temporary order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. Temporary orders can be enforced by other states, just like any regular protection order, as long as the abuser has been served and will have the opportunity to have a court hearing set before your temporary order expires.

Note: The state where you are going cannot extend your temporary order, or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the court that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone. In South Dakota, you can make a request (in writing) to the judge to attend the hearing by telephone. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to allow this.

Getting your South Dakota protection order enforced in another state

How do I get my protection order enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection order enforced in another state. However, many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about enforcement of out-of-state orders. These rules differ from state to state, so it is important to find out what the rules are before you try to get your protection order enforced in another state.

For example, a state may ask you to “register” or file your order so that the court and the police know about it. Although knowing the state rules can make enforcement easier, a valid protection order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your protection order with you at all times. It may also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

Do I need a special copy of my protection order to have it enforced?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protection order. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In South Dakota, a certified order has a raised seal on it.

The copy you originally receive from the circuit court should be a certified copy. Each certified copy is sealed with the circuit court seal (located on the signature page) to show that the copy actually came from the court.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move and leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. You may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work and to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

Can I get someone to help me?  Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your protection order enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protection order, and help you through the process if you decide to do so. To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

Do I need to tell the court in South Dakota if I move?

Yes, if you won’t be getting mail at your old address. The court that gave you your protection order needs to have an up-to-date address for you at all times. That’s because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your protection order- for example, if the abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, it may be a good idea to provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail.

If you provide your new address to the court, they will keep it confidential. However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either South Dakota or your new state. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. Box instead. You may want to consider giving an address that is in a different state from the one you have moved to.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protection order can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions1

1 18 USC 2266

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your protection order. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the South Dakota area on our SD Places that Help page.

Enforcing Your Out-of-State Order in South Dakota

If you are planning to move to South Dakota or are going to be in South Dakota for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in South Dakota

Can I get my protection order enforced in South Dakota? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in South Dakota as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent, threatening, or harassing behavior against another person, OR it was issued to forbid contact or communication with another person.
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case).
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the ex parte or emergency order expires.1

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 USC 2265; SDCL § 25-10-12.1

Can I have my protection order changed, extended, or canceled in South Dakota?

No.  Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order.  You cannot have this done by a court in South Dakota.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.

To find out more information about how to modify a protection order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.  If your order does expire while you are living in South Dakota, you may be able to get a new one issued in South Dakota, but this may be difficult to do if no new incidences of abuse have occurred in South Dakota.  To find out more information on how to get a protection order in South Dakota, visit our SD Protection Orders due to Domesic Violence page.

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order.  Will I still have temporary custody of my children in South Dakota?

Yes.  As long as the child custody provision complies with federal law1, South Dakota can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

Please see our Custody Info and Kidnapping Info page for more information on the federal law requirements, and to read more about taking your children out of state.  To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, click on Where to find Help, and select the state you are in from the drop-down menu on the top left corner of this page.

1 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA); Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA); and Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980

Registering your out-of-state order in South Dakota

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to South Dakota, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order will be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in South Dakota. All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protection order in South Dakota?

You can go to the office of any clerk of a circuit court in South Dakota to file your out-of-state protection order.  You can find contact information for courthouses in South Dakota on our SD Courthouse page and on the South Dakota Judiciary website.

You will need to file a certified copy of your order, along with an affidavit (a sworn written statement) stating that to the best of your knowledge, the protection order you are filing is still in effect and has not been changed in anyway.1   You can get a copy of the Affidavit for Filing a Foreign Protection Order at the clerk of court’s office, or online on the South Dakota Judiciary website.

The clerk of a circuit court will then file the order in the law enforcement protection order database, where police officers can look up your protection order and see that it is valid (real).

Safety Note: The abuser may be notified if you register your protection order in South Dakota, and may be sent a copy of your registered order along with the affidavit form that you sign.  If you do not want the abuser to find out that you are in South Dakota, you may not want to register your order.   Remember, you do not have to register your order to get it enforced in South Dakota.

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in South Dakota for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our SD Places that Help page.

1 SDCL § 25-10-12.2

Do I have to register my protection order in South Dakota in order to get it enforced?

You do not have to register your out-of-state order to get it enforced in South Dakota.1 South Dakota state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the law enforcement officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect. It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a South Dakota police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.2

1 SDCL § 25-10-12.2
2 SDCL § 25-10-12.3

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our SD Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

Can the abuser find out that I am in South Dakota if I register my protection order?

Yes.   In South Dakota, when a protection order is registered, the respondent (the abuser) may be given a certified copy of your registered order, which means s/he will know that you have registered the order in South Dakota.  In addition, your address may be listed on the registered order as a location the abuser is ordered to stay away from. You may want to request that your address not be listed on the order or the affidavit form.  However, it will still be clear that you are in South Dakota, even if your address is not listed.

The court should not give out any of your personal information over the phone, so the abuser cannot call the court and get your current address.  The abuser may have access to your file, however, so it is important to communicate with the clerk of court to make sure that your address is not listed anywhere in your public file.

Remember: Whether you register your order or not, there is always a possibility that the abuser could find out what state you have moved to. It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where your abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our SD Places that Help page.

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in South Dakota.1

1 SDCL § 25-10-12.2

What if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a South Dakota law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real, which could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in South Dakota. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in South Dakota, go to our SD Advocates and Shelters page.

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