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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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I am in the process of a divorce in South Dakota. I am the

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I am in the process of a divorce in South Dakota. I am the plaintiff in the divorce. The grounds are irreconcilable differences. We have two teenage sons which my wife will have primary custody of, and I will pay child support. We are living in separate houses and have been since October of last year. Right now, I put all of my income into a joint account that she access to and she is not having a problem spending all of it. My wife and I have traded settlement proposals. However, she has not responded to the last proposal I sent at the end of February.

So, my first question is, is there anything in South Dakota law that allows me to force a response from her -- besides sending it to the court and letting them figure it out?

If the answer to that question is no, and she can basically drag this out forever, what options do I have to keep some of my income for my expenses, like rent and electricity? Should I formally separate from her? I am renting right now, but the people I'm renting from are selling the house and I can't really obtain a loan to buy a property when this is so up in the air.

My lawyer is never around to answer any questions, let alone ask any questions of my wife's attorney. I'm beyond frustrated at this point and am just trying to move on. If you could point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it.
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

You can encourage your wife to enter into a settlement with you but you can not compel her to settle. At the current time it does not appear that your wife has any incentive to settle since she is receiving your entire income. Consider not paying any of your income to her unless the Court orders you to do so. Once she is not receiving your income, she will likely be encouraged to reach a reasonable settlement

I would be glad to respond to any follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I wouldn't be in any legal trouble for not putting any money in the joint checking account? I understand she could go to court to order me to, but without her taking that step, I wouldn't go to jail or anything like that?


Also, can the grounds for divorce change once I have served her and she has signed the admission of service?



No – you would not be in legal trouble nor go to jail unless there is a court order you are violating. I am unclear why your attorney would not have directed you to close all joint accounts as well

Whether the grounds for divorce can change is a more complex legal question. Typically if both parties agree to the change it can be corrected.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I thought all assets were essentially frozen until a settlement was agreed to. We have a joint checking and a joint savings account. Should we have split both of those down the middle when she signed the admission of service and started fresh with separate accounts?


The balance of the joint savings account is actually part of the problem we are having with the overall settlement. My wife wants the entire balance, and I think I should get half.

Yes, the assets would typically be frozen - however depositing funds into the joint accounts for your wife to use is a violation of that order. Typically you both should have opened new accounts when you split up

I believe that I have answered your original questions.I would appreciate it if you would rate/accept my answers at this time.

If you would like to direct additional questions to me, you may do so by typing your question at this link:

Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience: 25 years of experience helping people like you.
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