The regular baseball season is still months off, but spring training is due to start later this month in Florida and other southern tier states. Not all the action is going to be on the field. For one Detroit Tigers player, being in Florida includes an ongoing legal dispute over child support. At the heart of the matter is application of Florida's "good fortune" child support provision.
On one side is infielder Miguel Cabrera. On the other is an ex-mistress, the mother of two of his five children. According to reports, the mother has been receiving some $12,000 a month in support for the children for several months. In addition, Cabrera is said to have helped her purchase a $1 million home in Orlando. However, the mother is suing, accusing Cabrera of unilaterally reducing support payments and forcing her to borrow funds to maintain her family's current standard of living.
The unclear line
It is that last claim the court is seemingly being asked to address.
According to Florida statute, courts are directed to follow certain guidelines on setting support payments to ensure that a child's best interests are being served. However, sometimes the guidelines don't sufficiently take into account the goal of maintaining a certain standard of living - something that unsurprisingly tends to be higher when the paying parent is a high-income earner.
Identifying a child's best interest is subjective by nature. When you factor in elements that contribute to standard of living, setting proper support amounts can become even more challenging. When the support involves children of unmarried parents, finding optimal resolution is even more difficult and the help of committed family law attorneys becomes crucial.
In the Cabrera case, the mother reportedly wants support that is close to what the major leaguer now spends on the three children he has with his wife. In preparing to discern what modification to make, if any, the court has ordered Cabrera to disclose several years' worth of tax returns. Cabrera purportedly makes more than $30 million a year. By one calculation, he could face a payment order of more than $100,000 a month.
If that is what is ordered, the next step might be to set up a "good fortune trust" to ensure the funds actually go to support the interests of the children, rather than their mother.