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Modification; changing a thing without obliterating it.

An alteration is a variation made in the language or terms of a legal document that affects the rights and obligations of the parties to it. When this occurs, the alteration is material and the party who did not consent to the change can be released from his or her duties under the document by a court.

When an essential part of a writing has been cut, torn, burned, or erased, the alteration is also known as a mutilation.

The alteration of a document by someone other than a party to it is called a spoliation.


noun adjustment, conversion, difference, diversity, innovation, modification, reform, rehabilitation, reorganization, repair, transition, transposition, variability, variance, variation
Associated concepts: alteration of a contract, alteration of a license, alteration of a pleading, alteration of an instrument, restoration of an instrument
See also: change, conversion, correction, deviation, digression, diversification, innovation, modification, reform, rehabilitation, reorganization, repair, revision, transition


a change that, when made in a legal document, may affect its validity. See ALTERATION OF ARTICLES, ALTERATION OF BILL OF EXCHANGE, ALTERATION OF CAPITAL.

ALTERATION. An act done upon an instrument in writing by a party entitled under it, without the consent of the other party, by which its meaning or language is changed; it imports some fraud or design on the part of him who made it. This differs from spoliation, which is the mutilation of the instrument by the act of a stranger.
     2. When an alteration has a tendency to mislead, by so changing the character of the instrument, it renders it void; but if the change has not such tendency, it will not be considered an alteration. 1 Greenl. Ev. 566.
     3. A spoliation, on the contrary, will not affect the legal character of the instrument, so long as the original writing remains legible; and, if it be a deed, any trace of the seal remains. 1 Greenl. Ev. Sec. 566. See Spoliation.

References in periodicals archive ?
In the present study, essentially the same pattern of behavioral defects was obtained with CPF exposure in the early neonatal period, a treatment similarly shown to produce long-term alterations in 5HT synaptic proteins commensurate with a reduction in 5HT function (Aldridge et al.
The plans must reflect that the alterations meet all handicap code requirements.
The author studied 80 financial statement readers' perceptions (the survey participants were 40 stockbrokers, bankers and CPAs and 40 third- and fourth-year business students) of bar graphs with varying alteration (0%, 5%, 25% and 55%).
Alteration in medical condition related to possible gastrospasm, evidenced by nausea and vomiting (this problem might have been inappropriately stated)
An itemized estimate signed by the contractor of your choice for all alterations you are requesting
In addition to seeking injunctive relief for discrimination that has already occurred, the Act provides that an action for injunctive relief also can be brought by any person who has reasonable grounds for believing that construction of a new building or alterations to an existing building are about to begin that would not provide access to those with disabilities.
Fibre Architects, discharge condition 3 (doors), on previous permission for listed building consent for alterations to convert (B1A) office to C3A dwelling within conservation area, Buckden Mount, 8 Thornhill Road, Edgerton.
We cannot address differences in sexes in the present study because we limited this behavioral study to the male offspring; our primary goal was to detect behavioral alteration by perinatal BPA exposure in male offspring.
When patient bedrooms are being added or altered individually, and not as part of an alteration of the entire area, the altered patient bedrooms shall be made ADA accessible unless the "50% criteria" (above) has already been met.
The researchers found they could predict how long glass would hold up by analyzing the structure of the alteration layer.