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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 ?
Mr and Mrs P Carter, two-storey side, single-storey rear extensions and detached workshop/studio, alterations to existing property and landscaping work, 29, Gatehead Bank, Marsden.
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.
Always obtain a copy of the alteration agreement from the managing agent or board of directors to determine the rules and requirements of the building before agreeing to purchase the apartment(s).
A third mechanism of resistance is the alteration by gram-negative bacteria of their outer membrane transport channels that serve as the bacterium's own transport system, and which also allow the antibiotic to enter the organism.
The cost limitation for the total amount of improvements or structural alterations is a once-in-a-life-time benefit, and eligibility terminates when that cost limit is reached.
The Act's requirements for providing physical access to existing facilities are much more limited than for new construction or major alterations.
McDonald's Restaurants Ltd, extensions and alterations, including installation of additional drive thru booth and associated works, alterations to elevations including new cladding to roof and new remote corral, 501 Leeds Road, Huddersfield.
1 mg/kg/day (low dose) and 10 mg/kg/day (high dose) orally] daily from gestational day 3 to postnatal day 20 (transplacental and lactational exposures) would lead to behavioral alterations in the male offspring of F344 rats.
Alterations: In a typical real estate lease, alterations are greatly restricted.
KIRKLEES Council has received the following planning applications: Northpoint Living Developments, change of |use to mixed use 30 bedroom hotel with function rooms, part of first floor to dental centre and educational facility, basement to spa, formation of 11 apartments on parts of first, second and third floor, erection of rooftop coffee shop/diner with creation of terrace with balustrade, erection of canopies and external alterations (listed building, conservation area), The George Hotel, St George's Square, Huddersfield.