Baseball players rarely, if ever, convince an umpire to overturn a call at the plate.
But Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera got lucky with one particular umpire: a Florida judge who this week agreed to cut his child support payments to an ex-mistress after the MVP player cried foul.
Under an amended final judgement, Cabrera will now pay $14,000 a month in child support to the woman he secretly fathered two children with, instead of the $20,000 a month that was originally ordered in March.
That may sound like chump change for a man who makes $30 million a year. But Cabrera got frugal during the case and scored some points with the judge, who tweaked his original order to Cabrera’s liking.
Cabrera doesn’t have to pay nearly $90,000 in back child support under the new order — the judge concluded he was up to date. Nor does he have to pay off the woman’s nearly $1 million home that he helped her buy, as was originally ordered. Now he only has to pay her $6,776 mortgage every month — though he can choose to pay off the entire balance to be released from liability.
Cabrera also doesn’t have to pay for the children’s college education, which their mother had asked for, but Cabrera protested.
The former Triple Crown winner, however, didn’t walk off scot-free. Rather, his affair in the end will cost him more than $5 million when you factor in 18 years of child support, house payments, health costs for the kids, schooling, tutoring, travel, property taxes and attorney fees — all of which the judge ordered Cabrera to take care of.
Against Cabrera’s wishes, the judge also ordered him to to take out a $5 million life insurance policy to benefit both children until the youngest child turns 18. The girl is now 4; the boy 6.
The amended final judgment was handed down Wednesday after Cabrera contested the judge’s $20,000-a-month child support order, calling it “grossly inflated” and a “windfall” for the mother, Belkis Rodriguez, who in 2017 filed a paternity suit that outed the affair.
Before she sued the first baseman, Rodriguez was getting $12,000 a month in child support. Nearly two years later — and her $200,000 in legal fees that Cabrera was ordered to pay — she ended up with $2,000 more a month.
Cabrera, who has long portrayed Rodriguez as an opportunist trying to cash in on his wealth, argued that $13,000 a month is more appropriate and sufficient for the children’s needs. Rodriguez asked for $25,00-$30,000 a month.
Under Florida’s child support guidelines, Rodriguez was entitled to up to $137,000 a month given Cabrera’s $30-million annual salary. But the judge didn’t go for that, saying an amount that big would be “unjust” and “inappropriate” because it “exceeds the ‘needs’ of the children and it would be considered palimony.”
“This is a paternity case, not a divorce case,” Orange County Circuit Judge Alan Apte wrote in his order, which also addressed a sticking point in the case: Are Rodriguez’s children entitled to the same standard of living as the three children Cabrera has with his wife.
Rodriguez argued they did. So did the judge.
“The court finds that the parties’ children should have the same opportunities as the opportunities that the father provides to his three other children that he and his wife share,” Apte wrote.
That means Cabrera’s children with Rodriguez will get vacations and birthday parties equal to what his children get, under the court order. They will also have a nanny, tutoring, annual passes to Disney World and Sea World, a big house with a swimming pool to live in, and a Range Rover to be driven in, the judge concluded.
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Over the last two years, the case turned into a legal slug fest between a celebrity athlete and a Venezuelan woman who lived paycheck to paycheck until she met Cabrera. The millionaire baseball player bought her a flower shop, fathered two children with her and took care of them for years, but left them high and dry when his wife discovered the affair, she has claimed.
According to court documents, Cabrera didn’t just take care of his secret family, but pampered them with trips to Europe, a mansion in a gated community, a Range Rover, lavish birthday parties and trips across the country to see his baseball games.
This lifestyle lasted until April 2016, when Cabrera’s wife filed for divorce (she later changed her mind). Four months later, Rodriguez sued Cabrera for child support and outed their relationship.
Rodriguez’s lawyer, Terry Young, has blasted Cabrera in court documents, describing him as an absentee father who is trying to cheat his children with Rodriguez out of financial support they’re entitled to under the law.
Young called Cabrera’s request for a lower child support payment “petty.”
“The court made quite clear that its emphasis was on the standard of living of the father’s other children (from his marriage) and providing them with an opportunity-for-opportunity standard of support.” wrote Young, arguing his client has single-handedly raised the children.
“The father has effectively discontinued all contact with the minor children. In fact, he did not even call the minor son on his recent birthday,” Young has argued.
As for Cabrera’s contention that Rodriguez asked for too much, Young said: “These minor children have done nothing wrong and certainly deserve the appropriate support from their father as Florida law requires.”
Tresa Baldas: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.
Published at Fri, 17 May 2019 14:35:34 +0000