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Howe’s Hints

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What is the difference between a “fault” and a “no fault” divorce?

South Dakota allows for the termination of a marriage on the basis of fault or alternatively on the basis of no fault. Grounds for fault include adultery, physical or mental cruelty, desertion, alcohol or drug abuse, insanity, and impotence. In some cases the rights to distribution of property and spousal support can be affected by a spouse’s fault in causing the breakdown of the marriage. In a no fault divorce, the declaration by a spouse that irreconcilable differences have arisen in which neither time nor counseling will correct is sufficient grounds for a court to terminate the marriage and return the spouses to the legal status of unmarried (single) persons. In a no fault divorce, the actions of the spouses in the breakdown of the marriage does not affect property distribution or individual spousal support rights.

Who can be ordered to pay Child Support?

A court can order either parent of a child to pay support to other parent. The court order for support is usually payable on a monthly basis. Sometimes a Court may require that child support be paid by wage assignment (automatic deductions from the paycheck) this reduces the need for any subsequent enforcement actions.

If a police officer doesn’t read me my rights, can my case later be dismissed?

No, not necessarily. We have all heard the “rights” being read to many suspects on television and in the movies, and this has caused some confusion. The police officer does not have to read anybody their “rights” unless that officer wants to get a statement or confession from a suspect. If an officer does not want to make a record of what you have to say and use it against you, he does not have to read you your rights. However, if the officer wants to ask you some questions other than your name and address, he must advise you that you don’t have to answer his questions, that if you do, anything you say can be used against you and that you have a right to a lawyer before you answer any questions. It is amazing how many people will answer the officer’s questions in some vain attempt to cooperate which gives their defense attorney headaches trying to defend the case later on.

What are Small Claims Courts?

Small Claims Courts are especially designed to handle disputes between individuals, or an individual making a claim against a business, where the amount of money involved is relatively “small” – at least in terms of the types of cases courts usually decide. In South Dakota, Small Claims Courts typically can hear disputes that involve amounts that range up to $8,000.

How can I find out what the automobile Lemon Law qualifications are in South Dakota?

The Attorney General is responsible for oversight of the Lemon Law and that office can provide information concerning Lemon Laws in South Dakota. You may also wish to visit your local library or contact an attorney in your area who practices Lemon Law..