Can I Amend (fix) my Petition or Complaint?


Question: Oh NO!  I failed to allege a fact or request a specific result in my Petition, can I fix it after it is filed???

Short Answer: Maybe.

If you made a mistake or did not fill out your Complaint or Petition correctly, you may be able to fix it before it is too late.  For example, in certain instances you are required to plead (make a statement in your initial Complaint or Petition) certain allegations if you want a specific result.  If you are unsure of the result you want, you may not get the result you need if it was never pled (alleged) in your Complaint or Petition.  The good news is, if you have already filed a Petition or Complaint, the Court may allow you to amend your Complaint or Petition.  Depending on when you have filed, if there has been an Answer filed, or if your matter is set for a trial.  The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1.190 (a) is the Rule that allows for Amendments.

Longer Answer:  The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1.190 (a) governs Amending your Complaint or Petition.

“A party may amend a pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is permitted and the action has not been placed on the trial calendar, may so amend it at any time within 20 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend a pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party. If a party files a motion to amend a pleading, the party shall attach the proposed amended pleading to the motion. Leave of court shall be given freely when justice so requires. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within 1 0 days after service of the amended pleading unless the court otherwise orders.”

The Court is the judiciary where parties go to (hopefully) end their personal disputes.  The Court is the neutral ground, which makes its determination based on the allegations and evidence presented in each case.   Do not leave out critical allegations or certain requests in your initial Petition or Complaint.  If you realize you need to fix your Complaint, or if you are faced with a Motion to Dismiss, you can “ask” the Court through a “Motion for Leave of Court to Amend.”

If you do not understand your rights or what allegation you should allege, please seek the advice of an attorney who can help you with your matter.

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