Marriage Law South Dakota


The law relating to marriage in South Dakota is governed by the South Dakota Statute in Title 25 "Domestic Relation". Marriage is a personal relation, between a man and a woman, arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of parties capable of making it is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute a marriage; it must be followed by a solemnization. The consent to a marriage must be to one commencing instantly, and not an agreement to marry afterwards.


Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, or aunts and nephews, and between cousins of the half as well as of the whole blood, are null and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate. The relationships provided for in this section include such relationships that arise through adoption.

Marriage with stepchild

Every marriage of a stepfather with a stepdaughter or a stepmother with a stepson is null and void from the beginning.

Bigamous marriage

A subsequent marriage contracted by any person during the life of a former husband or wife of such person with any person other than such former husband or wife, is null and void from the beginning, unless the former marriage has been annulled or dissolved, or unless such former husband or wife was absent and not known to such person to be living for the space of five successive years immediately preceding such subsequent marriage, or was generally reputed and was believed by such person to be dead at the time such subsequent marriage was contracted, in either of which cases the subsequent marriage is valid until its nullity is adjudged by a competent tribunal.


Marriage is voidable if party physically incapable or consent obtained by fraud or force. If either party to a marriage be incapable from physical causes of entering into the marriage state or if the consent of either be obtained by fraud or force, the marriage is voidable.


Any unmarried applicant for a marriage license who is eighteen years old or older, and who is not otherwise disqualified, is capable of consenting to and consummating a marriage. If either applicant for a marriage license is between the age of sixteen and eighteen, that applicant shall submit to the register of deeds a notarized statement of consent to marry from one parent or legal guardian of the applicant.


Previous to any marriage within this state, a license shall be obtained from the county register of deeds of any county, by paying a fee of forty dollars. Ten dollars of the marriage license fee shall be retained by the county in which the fee is collected and placed in the county general fund. Thirty dollars of the marriage license fee shall be deposited in the county domestic abuse program fund. The license and record of marriage form shall be prescribed and furnished by the Department of Health.

Application for marriage license

To obtain a marriage license, each applicant shall sign the application in person in the presence of the register of deeds or in the presence of a person duly appointed by the register to act in the register's behalf. Each applicant shall provide proof of age prior to issuance of the marriage license. Proof of age may be satisfied by providing a certified copy of a birth certificate or any photographic identification which includes the applicant's name and date of birth. No person may use a power of attorney to obtain a marriage license.

Such license is not granted where either party is under the age necessary to render the marriage absolutely valid nor where the condition of either party is such as to disqualify him from making any other civil contract nor in any case where the marriage would be void under the provisions of


Soon after obtaining the license and within twenty days from the date of obtaining the license the couple wishing to marry may visit one of the persons authorized to solemnize marriage.

A marriage may be solemnized by a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the circuit court, a magistrate, a mayor, either within or without the corporate limits of the municipality from which the mayor was elected, or any person authorized by a church to solemnize marriages.


After performing the ceremony, the person solemnizing the marriage shall deliver the marriage certificate to the persons married and return, within ten days, the license and record of marriage to the county register of deeds.


A valid marriage gives the husband and wife certain rights and obligations. As per the law of the State the rights and obligation so conferred upon the husband and wife are as follows:

  1. Husband and wife contract toward each other obligations of mutual respect, fidelity, and support.
  2. A husband and wife may hold real or personal property together as joint tenants or tenants in common.
  3. Neither husband nor wife has any interest in the property of the other, excepting their respective rights for support as specifically provided by law, and except that neither can be excluded from the other's dwelling.
  4. Each spouse has and retains after marriage all the civil and property rights of a single person. Each may buy and sell, receive and convey, or dispose of by will, or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property belonging to him or her or in which he or she may have an interest, without joining the name of the spouse except for the homestead.
  5. The earnings of a spouse are not liable for the debts of the other spouse. The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and of his or her minor children living with him or her or in his or her custody while he or she is living separate from the other spouse are his or her separate property.
  6. A husband and wife cannot by any contract with each other alter their legal relations, except as to property, and except that they may agree in writing to an immediate separation and may make provision for the support of either of them and of their children during such separation. The mutual consent of the parties is sufficient consideration for such separation agreement.