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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27196
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My seprated wife and I entered into agreement over a year

Customer Question

My seprated wife and I entered into agreement over a year ago that stated the following amongst other terms; "$65,000 will be put back in the heloc on 3528 High gate Ave once this agreement is signed. There must be legal protection this money is not touched or withdrawn without both parties signatures. It will be put back into the equity of the house.". I had a $65K loan against a HELOC that I agreed to pay back into the equity for the refiance of the marital home into my wifes name only. She now (over a year later) claims the agreement is extortion stating "you put in the agreement that if I did not sign the agreement you would not return the money you removed from the HELOC account. The judge will call this extortion" Does she have a position and isn't this a misinterpretation and exaaggeration to call this extortion and get out of performing her obligations in this contract?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

It's not extortion, it's a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is a contract stating that one person will do X if the other party does Y. It's never valid unless both parties sign it, because it's a contract. A one-sided contract carries no legal weight. You're not threatening to harm her if she doesn't sign the agreement. It doesn't say that you get to keep the $65,000 if she doesn't sign. All it says is that her signature is the triggering event that requires you to return the money. If she had refused to sign, then you would've been able to either keep negotiating or the judge would've decided how to deal with that money. There's nothing illegal in what you've said.

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