Legal Stories

Back in 2002, when Kelly Clarkson was making her television debut as an unknown contestant on American Idol, it probably would have shocked her to know that in her lifetime, she would make more than $200,000 per month — let alone be legally required to pay $200,000 per month.

But, that is the situation the singer has found herself in after a judge ordered her to pay close to $200,000 per month to her soon-to-be ex-husband.

How did Clarkson end up with this monthly payment? And, will she have to make these payments forever?

How Clarkson’s Impending Divorce Led to $200,000 Monthly Payments

In June 2020, Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband of seven years, Brandon Blackstock. The couple has been battling out the terms of their divorce ever since.

The most recent updates to the case include a judge’s order, made in July 2021, for Clarkson to make payments to Blackstock for close to $200,000 per month. 

Of that sum, $150,000 is to cover spousal support. Another $45,601 is for child support, as reported by PEOPLE. Clarkson and Blackstock have two children, ages seven and five. The order also required Clarkson to pay $1.25 million to cover Blackstock’s attorney’s fee. Not including the attorney’s fees, the total payments come out to roughly $2.4 million per year. 

This is less money than Blackstock is said to have sought from Clarkson. PEOPLE also reported that Blackstock was seeking $436,000 per month.

Both numbers may seem high, but court documents reveal that Clarkson earns $1.5 million per month, which is likely what was used to determine the sums.

Related: How Did Lamar Odom End Up Owing $380K in Child Support? 

Determining Child Support and Alimony Payments

Clarkson’s high monthly income is why both the alimony and child support payments are high. The divorce case is being litigated in California so it abides by the laws and rules of that state.

In Florida, there are formulas and standards that are used to determine both fair child support and alimony payments.

For child support, Florida follows an “Income Share Model” when determining payments, which is defined in Florida Statute 61.30. It considers the amount of money that would have been spent on the children if the couple stayed together and divides the amount between the two parents based on income.

While Clarkson has primary physical custody of the kids, her high income likely factored into her high child support payments.

The formula for alimony isn’t as clear in Florida. There are many factors that show “need and ability” which a court uses to decide on a sum. The factors include:

  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of marriage
  • The financial assets and income of each spouse
  • The earning capabilities of each spouse
  • Time necessary for each spouse to be able to find appropriate employment

With Clarkson’s reported monthly income of $1.5 million, the sum of $200,000 per month doesn’t seem so high. And, luckily for Clarkson, she will not be required to make these payments forever.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

Clarkson’s Temporary Alimony Order

Clarkson and Blackstock have been in their divorce battle since June of 2020, but it might be coming to an end soon — and so may the alimony payments.

The recent order for alimony and child support is a temporary order that lasts until their divorce is finalized. 

The actual amount may change when the divorce is over, and the divorce just got one step closer to ending.

Recently, a judge upheld Clarkson and Blackstock’s prenup. Blackstock has been contesting the prenup that gave Clarkson all of the assets and income she acquired during their marriage. Blackstock was fighting to split their accumulated properties, but a judge denied his request.

This decision takes the divorce one step closer to being finalized. The couple will still need to determine a final amount for alimony and child support payments. It is expected that the child support payment of $50,000 per month will remain in place, but that the alimony payment will be cut to a smaller monthly sum.

Clarkson seems eager to make their separation legal. She has asked a judge to sign off on the divorce, declare her legally single, and restore her maiden name.

Related: The 9 Things Not To Do During a Divorce Case

Get Help with Alimony and Child Support

Determining alimony and child support can be a contentious issue. If you are going through a divorce or relationship split, make sure you have a family law attorney or divorce attorney who will fight to ensure that you get a fair outcome that works for you and your family.

Talk to someone today. Contact TJ Grimaldi to see how he can help you navigate the complexities of alimony and child support agreements. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023.

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