In California, Can I Amend My Divorce Before the Marital Status Is Terminated?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

In California, Can I Amend My Divorce Before the Marital Status Is Terminated?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

California law allows divorcing parties to amend their paperwork before their marriage is terminated. Changing circumstances in the middle of divorce proceedings, such as a change of income or address, often impact a case, and the state takes this into account by allowing amendments. There are important considerations to keep in mind before filing.

Woman sitting on a couch using laptop

Reasons to Amend Filings

During divorce proceedings, there are any number of reasons why someone may wish to amend their divorce papers. Some of these reasons include:

  • A change in income
  • Adding assets
  • The emancipation or marriage of a child
  • Changes in employment
  • Address change
  • Including information previously overlooked

Amending divorce paperwork the first time is relatively easy to do.

Amending Divorce Paperwork

Both the petitioner and the respondent are entitled to amend their divorce paperwork once without permission from the court in California. To do so, the party amending their documents must use the same basic format as the previous filing. However, they must check the "amended" box on the first page of the paperwork. This alerts the court and the parties that the petition or response has changed in some manner. You simply need to insert the amended information into the document and file the document with the court.

In addition to filing the amended paperwork with the court, the party must serve the amended documents to the other party. Certain rules govern serving legal paperwork on the other party, so make certain to comply with these rules for the service to be considered legally sufficient. You must provide proof of legal service of the amended divorce petition or response to the court.

Additional Amendments

Courts aim to process divorce cases in a timely manner. In order to reduce the likelihood of endless amendments to divorce petitions and responses, California limits the number of times a person can amend their paperwork without permission. If a party seeks to amend their paperwork more than one time, they must seek leave of the court. The court has the discretion to approve or deny the request to amend the documents.

Typically, courts allow the amendment if the person seeking permission to amend has a good reason for making the request. Of course, the court determines whether it's a good reason—it is not up to the judgment of the person making the request. Additionally, the court does not hear the request in a vacuum.

Objecting to Additional Amendments

When a party wants to amend their divorce papers a second or subsequent time, they must first notify the other party. This gives the other party the opportunity to appear before the court and argue against the request to amend the paperwork again if they so choose.

Divorce law can be complicated in California. As such, it is often beneficial to consult a divorce attorney.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help.

Learn more