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Former state Senator seeks child support modification

Divorce agreements are not written in stone. Courts understand that these agreements may need to be adjusted from time to time to accommodate life changes of the parties involved. If one person's circumstances or a child's needs have changed, it may be time to seek a modification to a child custody or support order.

News sources have been reporting about former New York state Senator Hiram Monserrate, who is in debt and currently pursuing a child support modification. While this particular case is happening in New York, it could just as easily be taking place anywhere in the country.

Monserrate was expelled from the state Senate after being convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend. In January of this year, he pleaded poverty to Manhattan Family Court and asked the court to modify his monthly payment obligation for his 14-year-old son.

The former politician claims his only income since being removed from the state Senate has been a $26,000 police pension. Further, he said he has had trouble finding work because of back problems. Therefore, he is asking that his $1,100 monthly child support obligation be reduced to $400 per month.

Family Court Magistrate Karen Kolomechuk initially denied the request. However, she later agreed to consider the matter at a hearing this months. She instructed Monserrate to bring tax forms, medical proof of his injury and any other appropriate paperwork in support of his request.

Sources indicate that Monserrate is deeply in debt. He owns a $130,000 apartment with a $74,000 mortgage and owes $14,000 in credit card bills, $10,000 for a car lease, $8,000 in student loans and $22,000 in taxes.

Because life is fluid, situations are changing all the time. Holding someone to an agreement reached during a divorce when that person is no longer able to meet his or her obligations under that agreement can become problematic. It is important that these agreements accurately reflect the current circumstances of all involved.

Source: NYDailyNews.com, "Debt-ridden ex-pol Hiram Monserrate is trying to cut child support for autistic son, ex-wife claims," Scott Shifrel, 10 Feb. 2011

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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