Get Involved as a Lawyer
Get Involved as a Citizen
I Need Legal Help
Child Support Information
Objecting to the Implementation of Parenting Guidelines
Enforcement of Parenting Time Orders
Implementing Parenting Guidelines
Parenting Child Support Late Fees
Affidavit of Non-Military Service
Case Filing Statement (Fillable, Word)
Case Filing Statement (Written, Word)
Notice of Dismissal
Plaintiff's Statement of Claim
Satisfaction of Judgment
Small Claims Calculator
Small Claims Filing Fees
Small Claims Garnishment Information
Small Claims Procedure Brochure
Access Guide and File
Find information about Adult Services And Aging
Guardian-Conservator Appointment Checklist
Instructions for Obtaining State-Federal Criminal Background Checks
South Dakota Codified Laws regarding the Guardianship and Conservatorship Act
Vulnerable Adult Protection Order forms
Contact your Court
Juror Orientation Video
Supreme Court Contact Information
Fees and Costs
Find a Lawyer
Get a Protection Order
Glossary of Legal Terms
Guide and File
Housing and Assistance
How Court Staff Can or Cannot Assist You
Modify my Child Support
Preparing For Court
Represent Yourself in Court
Start a Court Action
Seven Tips When Representing Yourself In Court
Make a good impression.
If you dress nicely, it tells the judge that you respect the courtroom and care about your case.
Be respectful to everyone in the court, including the other side – and don't argue with the judge. Do not interrupt anyone while they are speaking and do not make attacks on the other side. Try to stay calm. Explain your side briefly and clearly.
Know what to ask.
You can ask court officials for information about the process and what type of information to put on the forms. But remember, court employees cannot tell you what to write on the forms or what to say at the hearing.
Arrive early. Most judges like to start on time. Give yourself plenty of time to get checked in, find the correct room, and collect yourself. Some cases take longer than expected, so be prepared to wait.
Tell your story.
Tell the judge in a few brief sentences what your case is about and how you plan to prove the facts of your case. Some lawyers call this an opening statement.
Bring the original document and at least two copies of any evidence you plan to present. Write out the questions you plan to ask and go over them with your witness before the hearing. Have a clear plan of what you plan to say and the order you plan to say it. You may even want to watch other cases in the courtroom to learn where parties sit, how to explain your case, and what the processes and procedures are.
Use a lawyer if you need help.
Most important of all, you can use a lawyer if you need help. You may start this case on your own, but later realize that you need the help of a lawyer. You can hire a lawyer at any time during the court process.
Contact Your Court
© UJS 2020