Will a notorized letter hold up in court?

In my Divorce Decree my ex-husband was to transfer 20,000 from his retirement account into mine. However, after some negotiations after I regrettably signed a letter waiving my rights to that money. I feel that I was being manipulated. I was afraid that if I didn’t give in to his request that it would ruin the amicable relationship we had which was important to me since we have children together. If I wanted to back out of it and want the money, will the letter hold up in court and be legally binding?

Asked on September 6, 2016 under Family Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The letter may hold up--not because it's notarized (which, frankly, adds nothing to its enforceability) but because if you agreed to give up your rights to money for any good reason (a reason which seemed good at the time), that is enforceable: people can agree to give up their rights or claims to money. You can certainly try to overturn it and seek the money, especially if the letter does not itself state or acknoweledge what you received in return for giving up your claim (generally, you have to receive "consideration," or something of value, to form an enforceable agreement), but be aware that since people can agree to give up claims, a court may choose to enforce this.

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