Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show had the nation abuzz, with the legendary Mary J. Blige performing as part of an all-star hip-hop cast that also included Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Eminem. That’s not typically what you’d expect in the first line of a family law blog where divorce and CPS cases make up the bulk of our articles, but there’s a connection which will make it make sense.
As Yahoo! Entertainment revealed in an article published the day after, the star returned to touring after her divorce in 2017 because she had to pay alimony.
As the article noted, her new song, called “Rent Money,” was “born out of her painful and very public divorce from Martin ‘Kendu’ Isaacs.’” The $30,000 a month she owed stretched her financially. She elaborated,
“I had to give up all this alimony, and I didn’t have no more money to give because he had spent it all. So, I had to go, you know, I had to go on tour, and make all the money back to pay the alimony. I didn’t have no money to pay my rent and all this other stuff,” she continued. “But it’s also a metaphor like, I didn’t have my soul. I was just drained of everything. So it was time for somebody to pay; sometimes you just feel like somebody gotta pay.”
She also noted,
“Yes. I had to pay alimony. I was one of those girls. It’s me, it’s Britney [Spears], it’s Halle [Berry], Mary [J. Blige] allegedly. I was very, very angry about that. But it was because we had an existing prenup and postnup.”
But mega-famous pop stars and actresses aren’t the only women who have to pay alimony — or spousal support, as it’s known in Texas. As we wrote back in 2019, recent trends indicate that women are making more money, and women are actually the primary earners in about 40 percent of households. To underscore an earlier point we’ve made on the topic,
The determination of who pays whom spousal maintenance depends in part on “each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution of the marriage,” and “the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training.
The idea behind spousal support is that the person receiving it should be transitioning to being more financially independent.
In Blige’s case, it was frustrating in part because Isaac’s lawyers were initially trying to get $120,000 a month in alimony “to help him sustain his lifestyle,” with a claim that “physical manifestations of stress and emotional distress from this matter … caused him to become hospitalized” and even “unemployable.”
Blige did say of the prenup and postnup, “I wanted to renege; I’m going, to be honest.” Of course, it’s not advisable to renege on a legally-binding document — so you want to be careful going into getting those documents drawn up, to make sure you’re protecting yourself and your assets.
And, when a spouse is trying to negotiate for spousal support, it’s an especially good idea to consult with a lawyer. If a couple is married for a certain amount of time, the Texas Family Code stipulates spousal support eligibility — coming with the details of your situation in a consultation with the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance will help you determine what would apply to your divorce, as well as what might be possible.