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Child Support when You’re a Superstar Multi-Millionaire

Clarkston Legal June 21, 2018

Miguel Cabrera’s season-ending injury is but one of the troubles the superstar millionaire is facing as the MLB’s All Star break fast approaches. The two-time American League MVP is embroiled in a legal battle with his one-time mistress over child support for their two children.

High-Income Child Support Payors

The baseball superstar has an annual salary of just over $28 million, plus endorsement deals worth another $2 million. Belkis Mariela Rodriguez, his former mistress was earning just over $1,000 per week when the parties’ older child was born. The relationship has continued for several years, resulting in another love child.

If Ms Rodriguez lived in Michigan, Cabrera would be looking at upwards of $150,000 per month in child support. Fortunately for professional athletes and other wealthy individuals, the Michigan Child Support Formula contemplates extraordinarily high-income payors and provides the court with considerable discretion to reduce the child support obligation.

In Michigan, the threshold for an “extremely high-income” determination is not fixed. The law simply dictates that the court exercise discretion when the income “greatly exceeds” $116,000. [2017 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual]

The 3-Pony Rule

The rationale behind this determination is straight-forward: at a certain point, the amount of the support obligation is sufficient to meet all realistic needs of the child. This is the “3-pony rule”. No matter how wealthy the parents, no child needs three ponies.

The Orange County, Florida family court judge assigned to Cabrera’s case certainly subscribed to the so-called “three-pony rule” when he issued an interim order awarding $12,000 per month in support for the two children. The order also requires Cabrera to continue to pay the majority of the children’s extracurricular expenses, including annual passes to Sea World, Universal Studios, and Disney.

In Cabrera’s world-view, that support obligation is the equivalent of about three innings of salary and endorsements. Even Miguel’s season-ending bicep injury won’t slow-down his salary for quite some time.

Capping child support awards for parents with multi-million dollar annual incomes is the norm. While most high-value child support agreements are private, those that are public reflect support amounts that are dramatically less than called for under the Michigan child support formula.

Cabrera isn’t the only MLB All-Star with a large salary and a money-hungry ex-mistress. In 2017, Jose Reyes’ former mistress, Christina Sanchez, filed a motion asking the court to increase Reyes’ child support from $11,500 to $41,000 per month.

Both Sanchez and Rodriguez claim that their financial support was cut-off after their wives caught the superstars. Likewise, both women argue that their children should enjoy the same lifestyle that Reyes’ and Cabrera’s legitimate children do.

Payee Gold Diggers

For her part, Sanchez showed what not to do in family court when requesting exorbitant discretionary funds. She was arrested 50-yards from the Nassau County courthouse after a road-rage incident. She had brass-knuckles in her possession.

Like Cabrera’s child support case, Reyes is also a high-income payor. The judge entered a temporary order leaving Reyes’ child support unchanged. The minor child is on his health insurance. Again, 3-innings of salary.

Cabrera already provides health insurance for his children, along with private school tuition, daycare, and other extracurricular activities.

We Can Help

Our law firm has represented and counseled spouses of professional athletes. We also represent high-income child support payors and payees.

If you have a support case, or questions about your support obligation, call us for a free consultation.