Unpacking High-Asset Divorce, Spousal Support, Prenups, and Need-Based Attorney Fees
Kelly Clarkson’s divorce has been on the cover of magazines since the story broke news in the middle of 2020. Fans all over the world are outraged over her $200,000.00 per month spousal and child support. Furthermore, there seems to be widespread confusion over what’s normal during a divorce and what makes Kelly Clarkson’s case unique. Between the spousal support, prenups, and court orders, there’s a lot to unpack with Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock’s divorce—and not a lot of information has been made publicly available. Here’s what we do know from the information we have.
The $200K Temporary Support Order
Though the court order for Kelly Clarkson to pay $200,000.00 per month to Brandon Blackstock is causing quite an uproar, it isn’t actually all that unusual. To begin with, $50,000.00 of Kelly Clarkson’s monthly payment is child support. And, though raising two children doesn’t cost most people $50,000.00 per month, child support is not calculated based on the cost of providing the most basic needs to the child. Instead, child support is granted so that the children can live a life that is similar to the one they had before the divorce. The $150,000.00 per month spousal support isn’t all that shocking either. Though the spousal support is more than most people earn in a year, Kelly Clarkson earns an estimated $14 million dollars every year. Also, the spousal support is temporary. After two years, Kelly Clarkson may not have to pay him anything else in spousal support. Part of the reason for the all the outcry could be the fact that Kelly Clarkson is paying spousal support to her husband. Perhaps we wouldn’t be as outraged if the genders were reversed.
There’s a lot of pretty standard stuff in Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock’s divorce. Though the two signed a prenuptial agreement before they were married, it is possible for courts to throw out prenups or parts of prenups during a divorce process. This tends to happen in cases where a prenuptial agreement is too one sided, or a legal representative wasn’t involved. In this case Brandon specifically challenged the prenup. However, the court upheld the prenuptial agreement and it will be enforced which was a relief for Kelly. Kelly Clarkson has hired a Los Angeles based lawyer who is known for representing celebrities. She is applauded for her ability to keep these high profile cases tight lipped which in this case is why we don’t have all the information on the case. Typically, in high-profile cases, both parties are attempting to maintain their privacy.
There are several peculiarities regarding this celebrity divorce case. The amount of legal fees Kelly Clarkson has been ordered to pay for Brandon Blackstock’s attorney is extremely high. While it’s not unusual for a higher earning spouse to pay for the lower earning spouse’s legal fees, the amount her husband is asking for raises a few questions. Why is he projecting so many legal expenses? It’s also unusual that he’s taken her to court so many times. Typically, well-known couples with a lot of financial assets go through mediation. This keeps things more private, and it saves a lot of money.
The Career Change
As Jill mentioned in her podcast covering Kelly Clarkson’s divorce, it’s unusual for a spouse to change their career during a divorce but sometimes do this to try to skirt their financial responsibilities. A spouse may claim that they should not have to pay alimony with their diminished income. Or, a spouse may claim that they need alimony due to their decreased income. However, it does seem like the judge in this case understands this as she has noted that Brandon has made a deliberate change in careers and ceased looking for new clients and therefore is not going to reward him for this unusual behavior.
No Matter What, It Will Be Okay
Though the divorce process seems messy and chaotic, especially with the large amounts of money and other assets, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what you’re going through in your divorce, it’s going to be okay in the end. Divorce can be painful and stressful but it’s often the start of a great healing process. Although there are a lot of uncertainties in divorce, we know one thing for sure: no one dies from divorce.