How to Amend a Legal Document

By Owen E. Richason IV

During the course of a case's litigation through the court system, an interested party such as the plaintiff or defendant may have cause to amend a legal document filed with the court. In general, legal documents filed with the court, particularly those asking the court to oversee or compel another party into some action such as a motion or a request are called "pleadings." Because circumstances change, a party may have to amend a legal document.

Identify the court in which the legal document was filed. Look at the top of the first page of the original legal document to see the case's "style." Identify the court of jurisdiction and name any interested parties to the case.

Insert the word "amended" into the legal document's title. For instance, if you were served a complaint and named a defendant, you would file an "answer" titled "Defendant's Answer." If there is reason to amend the original document, title the new document "Defendant's Amended Answer."

Correct or insert any language necessary to reflect the changes. For instance, if your original answer included an affirmation to an allegation, reword the relevant section. For example, change an answer from "yes" or "affirm" in the original filing to "no" or "deny" in the amended legal document.

Take or mail a copy of your amended legal document to the appropriate court for filing. Wait for the opposing party to respond to your amended pleading.

About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.

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