From the baseball diamond to a love triangle for Tigers star

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By Marie E. Matyjaszek

Money is often the most fought about issue in family law. Personally, I find it easier to settle custody and parenting time cases because parties tend to be more flexible about those concerns. It’s not uncommon to have an agreement on all issues but support, or to lose an entire agreement once support is factored in the equation.

In addition to support, plenty of parents fight about the “extras” – extracurricular expenses, extra money for clothes, extra money for school supplies, extra money for field trips, and extra money for vacations. Some argue those costs are essentially “built in” to child support, and the parent receiving support should never ask for these additional monies on top of support. Others claim that support doesn’t encompass all of the growing costs to raise a child who participates in sports or other activities. If you and your ex have an agreement on these types of costs, put it in a court order so it’s actually enforceable by the court!
If you’ve ever felt you’ve unfairly paid for some of these extras, imagine how Detroit Tigers’ player Miguel Cabrera is feeling after his recent Florida court ruling. Cabrera has two children, ages 2-1/2 and 5, with his former mistress, Belkis Rodriguez. He has three children with his wife. Prior to the paternity case commencing, Cabrera had been paying Rodriguez up to $20,000 a month in support, not including extras.

As is common in family law cases, the parties had to submit financial affidavits, which include information about income and expenses. Cabrera, the longtime Tiger star, is earning big bucks with his yearly $30 million salary, and the judge presiding over the case, Alan Apte, issued a temporary order for monthly child support in the amount of $12,247. That’s a pretty hefty sum, but I’ve seen higher orders for support with parties that earn far less than $30 million. 

However, in addition to the monthly child support, Cabrera also has to pay for a lot of “extras.” There are the normal things one would think of – health care, daycare, sports, extracurricular activities, and mom’s bills, but what do you think of these: $300 per month for children’s clothes, and an additional $300 for entertainment, $100 per month for gifts for the kiddos, and an extra $100 for gifts that the kids want to buy for friends or teachers. Oh, and $80,000 for mom’s attorney fees.

But my personal favorite is that Cabrera must pay for the most exclusive, no limitations annual passes for both kids to the following places: Walt Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Universal Orlando Resort, and Orlando Science Center (the last one is a family membership).

The judge still hasn’t decided if he will award a monthly vacation stipend, and mom is reportedly asking for $100,000 a month in support. She believes the children of his marriage and the children of his affair should be treated equally in terms of finances. Frankly, she has a point.

With the case gaining so much notoriety, neither party is likely to back down from their position. When the case runs its course, Cabrera undoubtedly may be left wishing that he had stayed on the baseball diamond, instead of starting a love triangle.

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 The author is an Attorney Referee at the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court. Email her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.

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