Kelly Clarkson Takes Child Support Hit…. But Not Singing The Blues

 

If you’ve ever felt like the amount of child support you pay isn’t fair, you may have more in common with Kelly than you realize.

The American Idol star, pop music star, Voice show host, and talk show  host pays $45,601 per month in child support.  And she has primary custody of the children.  Let me explain more, while using Kelly’s top songs as paragraph headers.

Because of You (Released 2005.  Sold 543,000 copies)

After the breakup, Kelly won primary custody of her two children; River and Remington.  Her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, only sees the children two weekends per month. To any parent fighting for primary custody, that sounds like a pretty good deal for Kelly. Here’s the not so good part.  Kelly was ordered to pay Brandon $45,601 per month in child support.  That is forty-five thousand with a CAPITAL 4!

My Life Would Suck Without You (Released 2009.  14 million streams)   

Her bank account for sure got a little suckier.  Why does Kelly pay support for kids that are in her care most of the time? In Nevada, a parent with majority custody would not pay child support. Under Nevada law the parent with primary physical custody receives child support from the other parent.

But Kelly Clarkson got divorced in California. In California, most of the time, the parent who spends most of the time with the kids will be the parent who receives support. However, in cases of extreme income disparity like Kelly and Brandon, the formula will require the higher-earning party to pay.

Clarkson’s divorce revealed she earns over $1.5 million per month, while Blackstock makes about $10,000. By our estimation, child support properly calculated using the California support formula would set Kelly’s support obligation at around $19,000. That is still a lot of money, but she was ordered to pay even more! What happened?

California deviated from the standard support formula. Most states, including Nevada, can set support higher (or lower) than the formula if doing so is found to be in the best interest of the children.

Why would they do that?  It’s hard to speculate without seeing written findings from the judge, but it’s safe to assume the judge felt this deviation was in the children’s best interest. It’s possible they felt this payment was necessary so the children can continue to enjoy the lifestyle they were accustomed to when they see their father.

Would it be fair for the kids to spend most of their time in Kelly’s mansion and every other weekend in a studio apartment with their dad?  Or flying on a private jet to exotic vacations with mom while going to a Motel 6 in Modesto with dad.  The equalization of their incomes can reduce this disparity.  The money is for the children, not Brandon.

Break Away (Released 2006)

Could child support ever be set this high in Nevada? Yes! If Kelly divorced in Nevada, she might want to walk away, cross the Stateline, and move back to California.

Just for fun, we decided to plug Kelly and Brandon’s estimated incomes into our Nevada child support calculator. If Kelly and Brandon had the same custody arrangement in Nevada, Brandon would pay Kelly $1,760 per month, no matter how much Kelly earned.

On the flip side, if Kelly were the parent with weekend visits and Brandon had primary custody, her child support obligation would be a staggering $91,160 per month! That’s even more than the California support order.  This is because Nevada’s child support formula does not have a “maximum” amount of child support. No cap on child support in Nevada.

Mr. Know It All (Released 2011)

In Nevada, if she and Brandon spent equal time with the children her obligation would $89,400 a month. This is because Kelly’s standard obligation of $91,160 would only be reduced by the amount of Brandon’s $1,760 obligation.   This is an easier concept to grasp by playing around with our child support calculator.

Stronger. What Doesn’t Kill You.  (Released 2011. 503,000 downloads)

The outcome of Kelly’s divorce case doesn’t seem fair on the surface, but if you look beyond the outrageous numbers and consider the reasons behind them, it isn’t that shocking, or a bad decision by the judge.

The good news is Kelly Clarkson keeps getting stronger.  Since this child support order, she has only grown in popularity.  Taking over as a key host on The Voice.  Started her own talk show. And is preparing for a Las Vegas residency.  Kelly has truly become “Miss Independent”. (Released in 2003.  1,035,000 downloads).

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Rock Rocheleau