Understanding and Calculating Alimony in South Dakota

Find out how alimony (spousal support) is awarded and calculated in South Dakota.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a regular payment one spouse makes to the other spouse to provide support during or after a separation or divorce. The spouses may agree to alimony, or the court may order it.

Types of Alimony in South Dakota

There are a number of different types of alimony that the court can order:

  • Temporary Alimony: The court may order temporary alimony to provide support while the divorce is pending.
  • Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony is long-term support following the divorce; the court will order permanent alimony when the divorce becomes final.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony allows a spouse to go to school or receive training in order to improve job skills and earn enough money to become self-supporting. The judge may order rehabilitative alimony for a spouse who stayed home to care for children instead of working during the marriage.
  • Restorative Alimony: The purpose of restorative alimony is to reimburse a spouse who contributed to the other spouse’s training or education during the marriage. For example, a judge could order restorative alimony to a spouse who worked and supported the family during the marriage while the other spouse went to school.

Factors the Court Considers in Making an Alimony Order

When deciding whether to make an order for alimony and the amount of the order, the judge will look at:

  • the length of the marriage
  • the ability of each spouse to earn income
  • the financial situation of each spouse after the marital property is divided
  • each spouse’s age and health, and
  • whether either spouse was at fault for the divorce.

If the order is for rehabilitative or restorative alimony, the judge will also consider:

  • the amount the spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education
  • whether the spouse gave up opportunities to work or improve job skills during the marriage, and
  • how long the marriage lasted after the other spouse completed the education.

Duration of Alimony

South Dakota law does not have set guidelines for how long alimony lasts. The judge will determine how long the order lasts based on what type of order it is and the circumstances of the case. Rehabilitative and restorative orders are usually short-term, until the goals of the order are reached. Permanent orders may be long-term, possibly for the life of the supported party.

Taxes on Alimony

In general, the spouse paying support can deduct the payments from income. For the spouse receiving support, the payments count as income and are taxable.

S.D.C.L. 25-4-38
S.D.C.L. 25-4-40
S.D.C.L. 25-4-41
Hill v. Hill, 763 N.W.2d 818 (S. D. 2009)

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