If you are involved in court proceedings, it is vital that you do not alter original documents.

Your original documents will form the basis of your claim and they will need to be given to the Judge.

For example, if you are making a claim for unpaid money based on a written contract, it is important that you have the original contract.  If you want to get divorced, you need to have the original marriage certificate.

It is important that you do not attempt to change the original document, even if there is something on it that does not assist your case.

On the light-hearted side, if you have written, “My spouse is an idiot” on the original marriage certificate, it will not stop you from getting your marriage dissolved.

However, if you are involved in a contractual dispute and you have deleted words, or added new numbers, then the consequences can be disastrous.

If a Judge discovers that you have altered a document, you will lose credibility with the Judge.  The Judge will then be much less likely to believe anything that you have said in the hearing and you will be less likely to win your case.

It is possible that the Judge, or the other party to the proceedings, will refer the matter to the police for forgery and perjury charges to be investigated against you.  You may also have to pay the legal costs of the other party who had been misled by your actions.

If you think that there is a problem with an original document, or an error in it, then you should point it out to your lawyer immediately.  Your lawyer will then be able to discuss the best way of dealing with the problem.