A marriage dissolution proceeding starts by filing what are commonly known as divorce papers. Technically, these documents include either the petition or complaint for divorce and the summons. The petition is the document that outlines the basic facts supporting why you desire to end your marriage as well as information about what you want to obtain through the divorce process. You may reach a point during the proceedings when you need to amend the divorce papers to add, change or remove a provision.
Go to the clerk of the court where you filed your divorce case. Request a motion to amend form. Court clerks around the country usually maintain a selection of commonly used forms for people not represented by attorneys. These forms include instructions.
Contact your spouse and informally advise of the amendment you desire to add, change or remove. If your spouse voices no objection, you include that fact in the motion. Moreover, provided your spouse has not yet responded to the divorce papers or petition, the court likely will grant the change over any objection by your spouse.
Complete the motion to amend. Include the specific reasons why and how you desire to amend the divorce petition or complaint. For example, if you failed to include a demand for alimony, advise the court in the motion that you desire to insert this in the petition or complaint.
Deliver a copy of the motion to your spouse. In most jurisdictions, first-class mail is sufficient and certified mail is not necessary.
File the motion to amend divorce papers with the clerk of the court.
Request a hearing date from either the clerk of the court or the administrative assistant to the judge assigned your case.
Attend the hearing and present your position on the proposed amendment to your divorce petition or complaint. If the judge concurs with your position, you will be permitted to amend the divorce papers.
Divorce cases represent complicated legal procedures. Consider hiring an attorney to represent you in your case. The American Bar Association maintains resources designed to assist you in finding a lawyer.
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