In early March, it was announced that Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock finalized their divorce. According to People magazine, Clarkson will pay Blackstock a lump-sum payment of $1.3 million, and she will also pay him $115,000 a month in spousal support until 2024 and over $45,000 a month in child support for their two children.
In addition, Clarkson and Blackstock have agreed to share custody of their two kids (5-year-old Remington Alexander and 7-year-old River Rose). However, the children’s primary residence will be Clarkson’s home in Los Angeles. Another stipulation of the divorce is that the kids will be vaccinated for COVID-19. This is primarily because the children will be traveling out of state regularly to visit their father, who lives in Montana.
The divorce settlement also includes stipulations regarding the former couple’s homes, vehicles, and family pets. Complex settlements such as this are commonplace when celebrities and other high-net worth couples get divorced. Spousal support and child support in high-profile divorces may seem outrageous, but generally they are not when you consider the income potential and net worth of the individuals involved.
In fact, in some cases, they can act as a guide when others negotiate spousal support and other issues in their divorces (even if their financials are much less eye-popping).
Tips for Negotiating Spousal Support
Divorce negotiations are almost always complex and emotionally charged. This is especially true when it comes to negotiating spousal support. If one partner was the primary breadwinner, they may not feel like they can afford to support two households, even temporarily. On the other hand, spouses who gave up their careers to stay at home with the kids need financial assistance while they make the transition back into the job market. No matter which side of the spousal support argument you are on, you probably have valid points, which is what makes it such a complicated issue.
However, despite the complications, there is still a way to find a middle ground. Here are a few tips for negotiating spousal support:
- Understand Your Budget – Before you enter into spousal support negotiations, you need to know what your living expenses are. Make a budget, so you can have a good idea of either how much spousal support you need or how much you can afford to pay. In addition, figure out what your earning capacity is. This is especially important if your spouse was your family’s sole breadwinner and you have been absent from the workforce for a while or only worked part-time during your marriage.
- Avoid Out-of-Court Agreements – Maybe you believe you and your spouse can do a better job of negotiating spousal support than your attorneys but be careful about agreeing to alimony outside of court. Handshake agreements are usually not legally binding, so you may find yourself haggling over the same issues again and again long after your divorce is final. Also, if a spouse misses a payment, there’s no legal option for recovering that payment, or any other missed payments, anytime soon (if ever).
- Don’t Let Your Emotions Control You – Allowing your emotions to guide you during legal negotiations is generally a bad idea. You may go too far if you are feeling vengeful or you may not ask for as much as you need if you think it might put too much of a burden on your ex. There are legal measures that can help you and your spouse reach a fair spousal support agreement. Rely on logic and avoid letting emotion cloud your judgment. You could regret it later.
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Spousal support is a more complicated subject than many understand. It is easy to look at the numbers and think that this person is getting too much or that this person deserves more. However, calculating spousal support involves considering several factors, including each spouse’s budgetary concerns and earning potential. As a result, a spousal support plan that works for one couple probably won’t work for another couple, even if from the outside both couples appear similar.
At Cairns Law Offices, we get to know our clients and their situations. We consider what they can and can’t afford when it comes to issues like spousal and child support. We also understand the needs of those clients who have been out of the workforce for an extended period and need time to reestablish their careers. Attorney Jim Cairns has been helping clients with divorces and other family law issues for more than 25 years. He understands what is at stake during divorce negotiations and he knows how to protect his clients’ rights and aggressively pursue the best outcome for their situations. He works side by side with his clients from day one until their divorce is finalized.