How To Amend a Divorce Petition

The dissolution of a marriage can be started with a divorce petition.Sometimes the petition will need to be changed.In order to change the original.Once without issue, divorce petitions can be amended to account for changed circumstances or legal arguments.You can either use forms or create your own document for the amended petition.In order to convince a judge to allow the original petition to be amended, you may have to attend a hearing.

Step 1: There is a search for a good family law attorney.

You and your spouse will be a part of the divorce process.If you are going to hire a family law attorney, you should look for one that has handled similar cases in the past.If you want a good family law attorney, you need to find one that can practice law in the state and the courts.If you are going to file for divorce in South Carolina, you should look for an attorney that is licensed to practice law in the state.Discuss attorney recommendations with your friends and family.Ask them about any experiences they may have had.You can find divorce lawyers on the internet.Consider using your state bar's website, as well as public websites like and online directories like clients who have had positive or negative experiences often write online reviews.Online reviews can be very helpful and honest, so do some internet searches to learn more about lawyers you are considering.

Step 2: Make a decision.

Once you have researched family law attorneys, narrow down your list and contact your top choices.If you want to find out more about the services you need, ask your top choices for a consultation.A consultation will allow you to determine how you would work with the attorney.You should make a final decision on who you will hire after meeting with attorneys and researching their background and expertise.Choose an attorney that makes you feel comfortable, that seems to know how to handle your case, and who feels confident in their ability to represent you in an effective manner.

Step 3: Don't hire bad attorneys.

Not all of the attorneys in the world are good.Solicits you as opposed to the other way around, pressures you into making a hiring decision quickly, refuses to tell you about their background and credentials, and suggests that they will handle the case in an unethical manner.

Step 4: Look for low-income options.

Legal services for low-income individuals can be found in many states through legal self-help programs, legal aid organizations, and through sliding-scale fee arrangements.If you can't afford a lawyer, try one of these options.You can ask questions of attorneys and paralegals in a self-help program.If you only have a few quick questions, this is a great option.They will try and assist you if you call or talk to an attorney online.You can find the programs by contacting your local court or bar association.Legal services are offered to low-income individuals by a legal aid organization.An attorney will help you through the divorce process free of charge if you are eligible.If you need a full-time attorney, this is a great resource.Local law schools set up legal clinics to help train lawyers of the future.A number of individuals will be helped by law students.You can find out if your local law school has a divorce clinic by calling or looking at their website.There is an article on hiring a lawyer when you have low income.

Step 5: You should consider representing yourself.

If you don't have the funds to hire an attorney, or if you and your spouse agree on the amendments you are making, you may want to consider representing yourself throughout the amendment process.If you have the means, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney.An attorney has a unique set of skills that can help navigate the judicial system and help you get out of the amendment process.You can always ask an attorney to review certain documents if you represent yourself.

Step 6: Are you able to amend your divorce petition?

If your spouse does not respond to the original complaint, you will be able to amend your petition freely.If this is your first amended complaint, a judge will usually allow you to make an amendment.If your spouse has responded to your original complaint, you may have to convince a judge to allow you to make the changes during a court hearing.If the amendment does not cause a surprise for your spouse, you can amend your complaint any time prior to the final hearing in your case.If you want to amend your complaint within the seven day window, or if your spouse claims surprise, you will need the court's permission to file an amendment, which usually involves a hearing.If your spouse doesn't respond to the original complaint, you can amend it without the court's permission.

Step 7: Contact your spouse.

If you understand the general amendment laws in your state, you should contact your spouse to discuss the possible amendment.Discussing the amendment before completing the form and filing will hopefully lead to a less combative amendment process.If your spouse does not object to the amendment, you can include that information in the amended petition, which will increase the chances of a judge signing off on it.If your spouse does not agree to the amendment, you may have to convince the judge to sign off on it.

Step 8: Request an amendment form.

You are ready to fill out the amended complaint form at this point.Everyone can access the forms online.The required form can be found on your local court's website.You will need the form titled "divorce petition," "dissolution petition" or "Divorce petition amendment."If your local court doesn't allow online access, you can always go to the courthouse and ask for the correct form.Someone at the courthouse can point you in the right direction.

Step 9: The form has to be completed.

After you get the correct form, you need to fill it out completely.If you make the necessary changes to the petition, an amendment form will ask for the same information.You need to explain why you are changing the divorce petition.Spousal support, child custody, and a change of address are topics that may need to be amended in order to include them in the original petition.If you want to amend the petition to include a television as community property, you will simply list all of the things that were in the original petition.If you forget to include a demand for spousal support in your original petition, you may want to amend it.

Step 10: The clerk of courts has the power to file an amendment.

The local courthouse is where you filed your original complaint.Your amendment will be filed with the clerk of courts.The original amendment form will be filed by the clerk of courts.

Step 11: Pay the required fee.

You may have to pay a filing fee if you amend your divorce petition.You should be prepared to pay the fee in your community if the state has a different policy.If you can't afford the fee, ask the clerk of courts for a fee waiver.There is no filing fee for filing amended petitions in California.

Step 12: The amended documents should be served to your spouse.

You will need to hire a third party to serve the amendment on your spouse once it is filed.You can't serve your spouse on your own.The instructions on how to serve court papers can be found in this article.

Step 13: You should file your proof of service.

Once your spouse has been served, you should ask the process server to return a "proof of service" form.The amended complaint should be filed with the clerk of courts.If you pay an extra fee, a process server will file the proof of service form for you.

Step 14: When you file an amendment, you should get a hearing date.

If your state doesn't allow you to amend divorce petitions without going through a hearing, you will have to file an amended petition with the clerk of courts.The entire divorce will not be resolved by this hearing.The amended divorce petition and information on your spouse will be served after the hearing.

Step 15: Attend your hearing.

Arrive at your local courthouse early and dress nicely for your hearing.Step in front of the judge when you are in the courtroom.Your spouse and/or their representative will be in attendance as well.You and your spouse will be able to tell the judge why the amendment should be allowed.If the original petition has a mistake that would affect the outcome of the divorce, you should tell the judge.The judge will want to know why you made the mistake and how you plan to fix it.Tell the judge why the amendment won't disadvantage your spouse.The amendment should be allowed by your spouse.The judge is likely to allow it because both parties are in agreement.If your spouse is contesting the amendment, they may try and tell the court that it is a surprise and will hurt their case.Your spouse may argue that the information you are looking to include was readily available to you before you filed your original petition, so you should not have the chance to go back and try again.

Step 16: Wait for the judge to make a decision.

The judge will make a decision on the issue after you and your spouse plead your case.The amendment is usually allowed by a court if you are doing something egregious.You can make an amendment if the judge agrees with your position.

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