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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I prepare for Small Claims Court?

The small claims court is an informal court which allows people to sue for small losses of money or property. The procedures are simple enough so that an individual can file and handle his own claim in court.

The limit set by the law for small claims actions is $12,000.00 or less. SDCL 16-12C-13. However, since this limit may change from time to time, it is suggested that the plaintiff (that is the person bringing the action to court) verify with the clerk of court the maximum amount that can be claimed.

Small Claims Procedure Brochure

Small Claims Garnishment Information

Small Claims Calculator

How do I get a Protection Order?

The South Dakota Unified Judicial System (UJS) has implemented a new Protection Order Web-based System to provide public access to protection order documents that can be filed in Circuit Court in South Dakota. The public will now have the ability to complete and print the forms necessary for requesting a protection order. The party seeking protection (petitioner) must bring the forms to a clerk of court office in the county where the requestor or the person against whom the requestor is seeking protection from (respondent) resides. The petition must be signed in the presence or a clerk of court or notary for verification.

If a petition is handwritten and illegible a judge may deny the petition and therefore using the on-line system is strongly recommended.

The system was tested and four different domestic violence shelters around the state provided the UJS with feedback. The UJS strives to ensure that court services meets people’s continued diverse needs by providing electronic public access where possible.

If you have questions regarding the new Protection Order System you may contact the UJS Helpdesk at ujsesupport@ujs.state.sd.us.

If you are concerned about computer security level or submitting sensitive information from a private computer you should complete these forms on a secure computer so that the entered data is less likely to be viewed by others. If you are in danger please call 911.

File for a Protection Order

If you are in need of assistance regarding protection orders you may contact one of the following:
Statewide Shelter/Crisis Center Listing

What do I need to do to start a divorce?

These are the basic steps to getting a divorce:

1. Discuss with your spouse how you will divide assets and debts and determine custody, parenting time and child support. On-line forms are designed for married couples who can agree on the basic issues of the a divorce. They are not for contested divorces.
2. Put your agreement in writing. The process of completing the on-line forms will be easier when the basics are reduced to writing.
3. Complete the on-line forms. If possible, sit down together and complete the forms together. This will expedite the process and eliminate any confusions or misunderstandings in the future. Read and follow the specific instructions for each form.
4. Serve your spouse. This starts the 60 day waiting period.
5. File the original papers with the Court. Each of you should retain a copy for your own records.
6. Follow up with the Clerk’s office on the 61st day. Make sure all your paperwork has been filed.

Divorce can be emotionally difficult for all members of the family, and can involve complex legal procedures. You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney before proceeding with a divorce action in which you represent yourself.

Divorce Forms Without Children

Divorce Forms With Children



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