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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Should I change the declared grounds for divorce after I file?

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 14, 2023)

Last Updated on: 14th October 2023, 09:23 am

Should I Change the Grounds for Divorce After Filing?

Ending a marriage can be a difficult and emotional process. You may have already filed for divorce, but are now wondering if you should amend your petition to change the grounds. Here’s what you need to know:

What Are Grounds for Divorce?

Grounds for divorce refer to the legal reasons you are seeking to end your marriage. In most states, there are two main categories of divorce grounds:

  • No-fault – This means you are seeking divorce due to irreconcilable differences or incompatibility. No-fault divorces do not require proving fault or wrongdoing by either spouse.
  • Fault – This means you are seeking divorce due to wrongdoing by your spouse, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment. You will need to provide evidence to prove the fault grounds.

Why Would I Want to Change the Grounds After Filing?

  • You originally filed using no-fault grounds, but have since uncovered evidence to support fault grounds like adultery or cruelty. Adding fault grounds could impact things like alimony.
  • You want to remove certain fault grounds you previously alleged, either because you reconsidered or lack evidence. Removing fault accusations can reduce conflict.
  • You want to change from fault grounds to no-fault grounds for simplicity or if you reconciled briefly with your spouse after filing (which can nullify previous fault grounds).

How Do I Change the Grounds for Divorce?

The process for changing divorce grounds after filing varies by state. Generally, you will need to file an amended petition with the court. Here are some tips:

  • Review your state laws and court rules to understand the process. Your court’s website is a great resource.
  • Use the proper amended petition forms – many courts have specific versions. Get them from the clerk or court website.
  • The amended petition replaces the original, so include all required info, not just what is changing.
  • Submit the amended petition before the deadline for your spouse to respond. After that, you may need their consent.
  • Serve your spouse properly – by law enforcement, process server, etc. Don’t just give them the papers yourself.
  • Be prepared to explain your reasons for amending at court hearings. Focus on what’s best for resolving the case.

How Will Changing the Grounds Affect My Case?

  • It won’t restart waiting periods or affect the timeline much. The original filing date still controls.
  • It can impact discussions of property division, spousal/child support, and custody if fault is relevant. Be prepared.
  • Your spouse may be upset by new fault accusations or suspicious of their removal. Expect emotions and negotiate calmly.
  • If you reconcile briefly, previously alleged fault grounds may be nullified. Stick with no-fault grounds.
  • Adultery or other fault grounds can be difficult to definitively prove in court. No-fault is simpler.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

Amending divorce grounds can get complicated, especially if children, property, or spousal support are involved. Speaking with a local family law attorney can provide valuable guidance:

  • They can review your case details and explain your options and state laws.
  • They can ensure your amended petition is filled out properly and filed correctly.
  • They can represent you in negotiations and court if your spouse contests the changes.

Look into legal aid organizations if money is tight. But the advice of an experienced divorce attorney is highly recommended before amending your grounds.


  • Amending divorce grounds is permitted but should not be done lightly – consider it carefully.
  • Follow proper procedures and be prepared to justify the changes to the court.
  • Consult an attorney for guidance, especially if your case involves complicated issues.
  • Focus on resolving your divorce smoothly, not “winning” arguments about fault.

With the right legal advice and strategic approach, thoughtfully amending your grounds can help achieve the best outcome as you close this chapter and move forward. Wishing you the absolute best.

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