Can a notarized letter hold up in court regarding an agreement between2 people?

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2010

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Can a notarized letter hold up in court regarding an agreement between2 people?

My wife and I are getting a divorce and doing it ourselves. She is receiving monthly payments and promised me half since she would not be getting them if it weren’t for me. The payments are in her name and if she didn’t want to pay there would be nothing I could do. She said she would send me a notarized letter stating she would pay me for X amount of months. Will this hold up in court if she moves or just decides not to hold up her end of the bargain ? I also have it on recording her stating this which is legal in ID because she used recordings on her ex-husband.

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Business Law, Idaho


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It is really not a good idea to do this yourself.  You are dividing your marital property and you may be cheating yourself out of what you deserve.  You may also be giving up rights to which you are entitled, like permanent spousal support.  Idaho is a Community Property State, meaning that marital property is split 50/50.  What are her monthly payments based upon?  Are they a pension?  What are your other marital assets?  Are there children?  The letter may be able to hold up in court as a binding contract (which is what a settlement agreement is: a legally binding contract as between the two of you) but I would not play around with this.  Even try legal aid or legal services. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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