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Miguel Cabrera: Triple Crown on the Field, Possible Errors Made off the FieldNovember 9, 2017
As an experienced family law litigator at Ladden & Allen, Chartered, and as an even more experienced and avid sports fan, watching the Miguel Cabrera legal saga unfold is beyond frustrating. As many of you know, Miguel Cabrera is not only the first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, but arguably one of the greatest hitters of all time.
As one of the best in the game and possibly of all time, there is no doubt that he is an athlete who has an enormous “target” on his back from his fame and fortune, earning money not only from playing (on March 8, 2014 he signed an 8-year contract extension totaling $292 million which was record-breaking at that time), but also from his numerous endorsement deals. However, based on the articles I have seen, and as good as he has been on the field and in his career, he seems to have made some avoidable missteps off the field.
In Florida’s Orange County Circuit Court, Belkis Rodriguez, to whom he is not married but who reportedly is the mother of two of his children, is pursuing a parentage lawsuit in part requesting $100,000 a month in child support. You would think the mansion he bought her and the $12,000 a month he claims to have paid her in child support would have prevented this lawsuit, but not even close…and here’s why.
Although Cabrera claims to have consistently paid her $12,000 a month and given her substantial funds to buy a 3,704-square foot home, it appears as if he may never have formalized this in a written agreement and/or court order. While he may have though he was “protected,” the best protection generally is to have consulted with an attorney in his jurisdiction early on to formalize his arrangements and legally strategize avoiding such a lawsuit. It appears he may not have sufficiently legally protected himself as Rodriguez claims. Cabrera reduced his support payments (“self-helped”) after contributing to the purchase of her mansion.
I am not weighing in on which individual is “right” or “wrong” and do not pretend to know all the facts or the relevant laws, but generally it is wise for both parties in this kind of situation to have retained counsel and engaged early on in some formal, legal/binding agreements on child support and/or regarding the purpose and the purchase of the real estate to prevent a “misunderstanding” and/or litigation.
Now Rodriguez and Cabrera are in the press, whether they like it or not, for all the wrong reasons. This could have negative consequences on both of their reputations and careers. It also forces both of their families to be involved in the case, which can be draining. Perhaps the team would have preferred that Cabrera stay in the news – but only for his undeniable skills on the field.