Child Support Collections Logo

South Dakota child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this South Dakota child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is South Dakota child support determined?

In South Dakota, either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support. There are official South Dakota Child Support guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts use to help determine the correct amount of child support.

These guidelines will be followed, unless one of the following factors convinces the courts to adjust them:

  • the financial condition of either parent that would make the guidelines unjust
  • any income tax consequences
  • any special needs of the child
  • any income from others besides the parents
  • the effect of the custody and visitation decisions
  • an agreement between the parents that provides other forms of support that benefit the child
  • a voluntary reduction in the income of either parent
  • any other obligations of financial support for subsequent children

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age unless the child is still in high school - in which case the support ends upon the child's graduation from high school, or the child's 19th birthday, whichever occurs first. A child will also automatically be ineligible for child support if that child marries, is removed from disability status by a court order, or the child dies.

South Dakota's custody guidelines:

Generally, the parents agree upon decisions about parenting and custody. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, then the courts will make these decisions. Under state statute, the courts may order the parties to mediate child custody and visitation disputes.

In South Dakota, joint legal, joint physical or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and the discretion of the court. No preference is given to either parent based on their sex. Marital fault is not considered, unless it is relevant to whether that person is a fit parent to have custody. The courts may consider the wishes of the child. In joint custody decisions, the courts consider the requests of the parents and the best interests of the child.

South Dakota's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. Usually, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through one of the parent’s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

Under state statute, the custodial parent pays the first $250 of any uncovered medical expenses, and the remainder is split between the parents based on their percentage of support under the guidelines.

How permanent are the provisions for South Dakota child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children.

While all orders concerning the children are modifiable in the future, we encourage you to not enter into an agreement based on the idea that it can always be changed or modified later.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Most states, including South Dakota, have a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. The payments are withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support. 

The payment of child support through the state agency is now mandatory in every case in South Dakota.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

Joint custody is now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan in much of the nation.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children such as the health, education and welfare of the children.

While joint legal custody envisions a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities on major decisions affecting the children, it does not work out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Often one parent is named as the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The primary physical custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

Joint physical custody envisions an equal custody arrangement where the child would spend roughly equal time with each parent. This arrangement requires a good level of communication and cooperation between parents.

How South Dakota determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree to exactly when visitation will occur, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • six to eight (6-8) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays, including: New Year's, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
  • fathers get Father's Day and the father's birthday
  • mothers get Mother's Day and the mother's birthday

Usually, advance notice is required for unscheduled visitation.

Debt and Credit Resources

Step-by-Step guide for dealing with Unfair and Illegal Debt Collection Tactics!
Get Your Copy Today

FREE! No Obligation
Bankruptcy Assessment

FREE Debt Analysis
If you have at least $2,500 in credit card debt...learn about your debt relief options to lower your monthly payments, interest, and consolidate bills.
It's Quick, Easy, and Confidential
FREE Debt Analysis

Student loans in default?
Learn your rights here

Credit reports messed up?
Learn how to repair your credit!

FREE Bankruptcy Forms
The Basic Kit includes all forms and instructions plus 70 additional bankruptcy forms and four specific documents to help you avoid these
Top 10 Filing Mistakes