Football and fatherhood need not be at odds. Yet in the wake of Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer’s domestic violence case, another Arizona player is involved in a family law dispute. After fumbling a court appearance in a paternity suit, Arizona free safety, Tyrann Mathieu, is appealing a ruling that he was the father of a child born in 2013 and owes thousands in child support.
Mathieu, nicknamed “Honey Badger” because of his tenacious defensive play on the field, didn’t show up in court to defend against the paternity claims. His absence enabled the child’s mother, Megan Edwards, to win a default judgment. Mathieu is appealing, claiming he did not receive proper notice of the paternity suit, which was brought in New Orleans. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case.
Edwards’ attorney claims that Mathieu was served with papers twice by mail at the Arizona Cardinals’ business address, a post office box in Arizona. Mathieu’s attorneys argue that this was not proper service.
According to the allegations in the case, Edwards had a six-year monogamous relationship with Mathieu that ended four months before their son was born. Edwards says a 2014 DNA test proves that Mathieu has 99.99999 percent likelihood of being her child’s father. She testified that Mathieu acknowledged fathering the child to family, friends, and colleagues, in person and in social media. Mathieu has also paid a number of visits to the child.
Meanwhile, Mathieu appears to have a fathered another child with the stepdaughter of Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Edwards says she has spent $3000 on child care for her son, while Mathieu, who has a $3 million contract, provided $1500 on Thanksgiving 2013 and an additional $800 on their son’s birthday.
A New Orleans judge has decreed that Mathieu is the biological father and has ordered him to pay $22,200 in back child support, plus $2,598 in day-care expenses retroactive to the date the suit was filed. Going forward, she ordered Mathieu to pay $3,700 in monthly child support and $433 in monthly day-care expenses, purchase health insurance covering the child, and buy a life insurance policy with the child as a beneficiary. Some of the financial support is to be paid into an educational trust fund for the child. The judge also ordered Edwards to pay for attorney’s fees, court costs, and DNA testing.
Edwards says she remains open to Mathieu visiting and having a relationship with his son.
Paternity battles can be costly and damaging to the reputations of all parties, and missteps, missed court dates, or the wrong strategy, can make matters worse. Whichever side of a paternity or child support case you find yourself on, having qualified counsel is essential. The Scottsdale, Arizona attorneys at Nirenstein Garnice have helped people involved in all forms of domestic relations and family law disputes. Call (480)351-4804 for a confidential consultation.