Kelly Clarkson, Alimony and What Every Breadwinning Woman Should Know


One of the most uncomfortable tasks I have as a family law attorney is breaking it to a client that they will be paying alimony. Usually, men expect to have to pay it, even in cases where they make less than their wives.  In those cases, they are often pleasantly surprised to learn that they may be receiving rather than paying it. However, in cases where the wife makes more than the husband – well that’s usually a different story…

Singer, American Idol icon and talk show host Kelly Clarkson recently settled a case with her husband, Brandon Blackstock, in which she is paying $115,000 per month to him in alimony. That’s a whopping sum, and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when her attorney broke the news to her (talk about difficult representation).  Of course, that’s an extreme example, and in most cases, we are not dealing with “star struck” numbers in terms of support.  However, every woman should know if they are working and making more than their Husband that, at least in South Carolina, they could be subject to paying alimony/spousal support to their Husband.

It is easy for us to scoff at the “free ride” Kelly Clarkson’s Husband (or any Husband) may be getting once the parties to a marriage are divorced; however, that is not the primary question the Court must consider, at least in South Carolina, in terms of awarding alimony.  While the resources and the education of the party receiving alimony may be considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded, the primary issue in such cases is often what standard of living did the receiving party enjoy during the marriage.  Thus, let the lesson of the Clarkson case for all women be to hitch your wagon to the biggest star – that is, know your risk of paying alimony by discussing with your attorney and understanding your position going in.  Alimony laws in South Carolina are not likely to change anytime soon.

Melissa Miller is a licensed attorney in South Carolina for The Miller Law Firm, P.A. who focuses her practice on family, personal injury, and workers’ compensation law.  To make an appointment with Melissa or to assess your alimony exposure, contact The Miller Law Firm, P.A. at 864-527-0413.