Singer Melanie “Mel B” Brown has been ordered to pay her estranged husband Stephan Belafonte $40,000 per month in temporary spousal support. The monthly sum was ordered by a California Superior Court judge as a result of a pending divorce filed by the singer in March of this year.
Mel B is most widely known for her stint with the pop super group, The Spice Girls, in the 90’s. Back then, Mel B was known as “Scary Spice”. The Spice Girls celebrated “girl power”, generating millions of dollars and launching the careers of the women involved. Mel B went on to release several solo albums and eventually became a sought after television host.
Mel met and married Los Angeles Film Producer Stephan Belafonte. Stephan’s production credits include Thank You For Smoking, The Mutant Chronicles and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. The marriage lasted for ten years before turning sour. The couple had one child, Madison Brown Belafonte, born in 2011.
After Mel filed for divorce, things turned nasty between the couple. Mel alleged that Stephan was controlling and physically abusive. She alleged that Stephan also sexually exploited her, forcing her to have a threesome in a drunken state, against her will. Initially, Mel filed (and was granted) a restraining order against Stephan claiming she feared for her safety when he was around. Stephan was also ordered to stay away from their daughter and Mel’s children that she had as a result of prior relationships.
Nevertheless, Stephan pursued spousal support by filing a motion which was granted by the court this week. The judge ordered Mel to pay $40,000 per month in spousal support which is $10,000 less than Stephan requested. Furthermore, the support was ordered retroactively to May 2017. She must also pay Stephan’s legal fees, which total $140,000.
Stephan claims he needs the money to pay for his rent, food, cell phone bill and more. The court agreed that since Mel was the primary earner in the family, she was obliged to assist in maintaining the lifestyle that Stephan became used to while the two were married. This was ordered even though Stephan’s lawyer stated in court that due to the couple’s “extravagant and affluent” lifestyle, Mel had “wiped out all her Spice Girls money approximately $50 million, if not more”
In ordering spousal support in California, under Family Code Section 4300, the court considers some following circumstances:
(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:
(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.
(f) The duration of the marriage.
(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
Here, although Stephan was a Hollywood producer, it is uncontested that Mel made much more than he did. Also, the Courts are well aware of Mel’s earning capacity which includes a multi-million dollar salary from her judging job on America’s Got Talent. Furthermore, the two admittedly lived a lavish lifestyle while together. therefore, Mel was ordered to fork over thousands to help Stephan to maintain that lifestyle. The recent court decision was handed down even though Mel has alleged that Stephan committed domestic abuse against her. Typically, if proof of domestic violence can be found this can bar an individual from receiving spousal support.
Spousal support cases have become fairly typical in Hollywood celebrity divorces. When the earning capacity of at least one of the individuals is millions of dollars, there’s no doubt that the party with the lesser earning capacity will request support. Similarly, GCE reported that Mary J. Blige’s estranged husband, Kendu, was granted $30,000 in temporary spousal support.