A-Rod: Marriage over, claims of affairs irrelevant
MIAMI -- Alex Rodriguez said he agrees with his wife on two things: Their marriage is over, and she's a good mother to their two daughters. But A-Rod said allegations of infidelity shouldn't bear on their divorce.
The New York Yankees' All-Star third baseman said in papers filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court that his five-year marriage to Cynthia Rodriguez is "irretrievably broken." But because Florida is a no-fault divorce state, Rodriguez contends that his wife's claims of affairs are "immaterial and impertinent."
In her divorce petition filed July 7, Cynthia Rodriguez accused her husband of "marital misconduct" including infidelity. She didn't mention any names, but A-Rod has been linked to pop superstar Madonna -- both deny an affair -- and a number of other women. A New York tabloid once labeled him "Stray-Rod."
The filing by Alex Rodriguez attorneys Jason Marks and Alan Kluger in Miami-Dade Circuit Court also said that A-Rod is willing to continue paying all expenses for their two young daughters and seeks parenting time with them.
As for their $12 million Coral Gables home, cars and other assets, Alex Rodriguez says the couple's 2002 prenuptial agreement should rule who gets what. Cynthia Rodriguez wants the house, her luxury SUV, alimony, insurance and unspecified personal items.
"Husband denies any duty to support wife beyond those obligations specifically set out in the parties' prenuptial agreement and Florida law," A-Rod said in his reply. That agreement has not been made public.
Attorney Lynne Z. Gold-Bilkin, a Philadelphia family law attorney not involved in the case, said A-Rod's response is "totally reasonable and rational" and that Cynthia Rodriguez was wrong legally to make allegations of affairs given Florida's no-blame divorce law.
"Her lawyers brought in non-legal extraneous matters for the purpose of smearing him," said Gold-Bilkin, former chair of the American Bar Association's family law section.
Cynthia Rodriguez's attorney, Maurice Kutner, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
A-Rod's filing was devoid of any accusations against his wife and actually praised her at one point, calling her a "loving and nurturing mother" and saying he expected to work out a parenting arrangement to stay involved in the lives of daughters Natasha, 3, and Ella, 3 months.
Such a time-sharing arrangement, the player added, should consider "the practical realities of husband's professional life, without the need for court intervention."
Rodriguez, the American League's starting third baseman in this year's All-Star game, is in the first year of a $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees that could eventually pay him up to $305 million. He has hit 541 homers in his career, including 23 this year, and he was batting .328 as of Thursday with 65 RBI and 65 runs scored.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press