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.