In the end, the law came down on the side of the children.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who for five years led a double-life with a mistress in Florida and fathered two children with her, has been ordered to provide those children with the same lifestyle and opportunities enjoyed by the children from his marriage.
This has been a sticking point in the 18-month-old legal slug fest in a Florida court between the millionaire baseball player and his former lover.
The Orlando woman, Belkis Rodriguez, who sued Cabrera in 2017 over child support, has long argued that her children deserve the same lifestyle as the three kids Cabrera has with his wife.
Cabrera, who makes $30 million a year and used to fly Rodriguez and their children around the country to see his games, disagreed.
Detroit Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera celebrates after a home run by Gordon Beckham during the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox, Sunday, April 21, 2019 at Comerica Park. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
The judge saw things differently.
“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” Orange County Circuit Court Judge Alan Apte wrote in a ruling last month, concluding Cabrera’s child support will be based on multiple factors:
The needs of the children. The father’s ability to pay. And, Cabrera’s “good fortune.”
“The court finds this to be a ‘good fortune’ case … and the children’s right to benefit from his good fortune,” wrote Apte, who ordered Cabrera to pay both allocated and unallocated child support, which gives the mother wide spending power.
Under the final judgment, which should wrap up the contentious case, here’s what the judge ordered Cabrera to do:
- Pay Rodriguez $20,000 a month in unallocated child support, which means the mom can spend it as she sees fit.
- In addition to the $20,000-a-month, pay allocated child support to Rodriguez for specific expenditures, such as private schooling, health care, extracurricular activities and prescriptions. When these expenses occur, the mom will send a bill to Cabrera for reimbursement.
- Pay off the mortgage of Rodriguez’s nearly $1 million house by July 1.
- Provide the children unblocked, annual passes to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Orlando Science Center.
- Maintain a $5 million life insurance policy to benefit both children until the youngest child turns 18.
- Pay Rodriguez $89,581 in unpaid child support by May 1.
- Pay Rodriguez’s attorney fees of $51,206.
Cabrera’s lawyer, Ben Hodas, declined comment.
A hearing on the final child support order is scheduled for April 30. If prior court filings are any indication, an appeal is likely.
Rodriguez sued Cabrera in August 2017, claiming he left her and their two kids high and dry after his wife discovered the affair. Cabrera's wife, Rosangel, had filed for divorce in April of 2017, but changed her mind.
Rodriguez argued that given Cabrera's $30 million annual salary, which equals $2.5 million a month, she was entitled to $100,000 a month under Florida's child support guidelines.
Cabrera's lawyer, however, argued that what Rodriguez was really upset about was that Cabrera wouldn't leave his wife.
"Following the birth of the second child, the mother became increasingly incensed by the father's refusal to leave his wife for her," Cabrera's lawyer, Benjamin Hodas, wrote in a court filing. "The mother would regularly threaten the father to expose their relationship, and children, to his wife and the media, and to file a paternity suit wherein she would seek 'millions of dollars' from him."
Out of fear, Hodas wrote, Cabrera caved to her demands. But the more he gave, "the greater the mother's financial demands increased," he wrote.
In court filings, Cabrera's lawyer has portrayed Rodriguez as a "gold digger" who is is trying to extort alimony from him, even though they were never married. Cabrera's lawyer also argues that his client has voluntarily given Rodriguez plenty in child support for their son and daughter — at least $15,000 a month — without a court order.
Rodriguez's lawyer has argued that Cabrera is a wealthy man who is shortchanging his client, when he should be paying her more, given his wealth.
"(Cabrera) attempts to portray (the) mother as some villainous criminal attempting to 'extort' him for money … when just the opposite is the case. (She) has made every attempt to work with (the) father over the years regarding child support," Orlando attorney Terry Young, Rodriguez's lawyer, has argued in court documents.
Young also has argued in court documents that Cabrera has been an absentee father. Since the filing of the lawsuit, Cabrera has not once visited the children, the lawyer has alleged, though a parenting scheduled has been drafted and agreed upon between the parties.
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