Kelly Clarkson’s bitter divorce to Brandon Blackstock was once again in the gossip columns this week. And it continues to be a classic case study in divorce real estate. (And if any CDRE™s are reading about it, they’ll already be wise to the drama around the real estate part of the equation.)
First, the facts:
A judge in L.A. upheld the terms of Clarkson’s and Blackstock’s prenup and awarded Clarkson the $10.4M Montana ranch, which she purchased in 2019 (she is the sole title holder). However, Clarkson is living in L.A., Blackstock is still living at the ranch, and now he appears to be refusing to accept the court’s judgment. Clarkson wants to sell the ranch, and Blackstock is digging in his heels.
This could go two ways:
1) Clarkson tries to sell the house with Blackstock still in it. But because Blackstock doesn’t have any vested interest in the property, he likely won’t be motivated to help sell it. In fact, he may very well try to sabotage the sale out of spite.
Let’s say he declines showings, refuses to leave when buyers and agents arrive, and keeps the house in poor condition. That will affect the value, which will depreciate over time.
The plot thickens even more because there are cattle and horses on the property, at least according to an article published in 2020 before their divorce. How will that be handled if the ranch goes up for sale?
2) Clarkson will need to go back to court to get him removed. That’s messy, too, because that will likely be an L.A. judge making an order that law enforcement in Montana would have to enforce. And because nearly every state has different eviction rules, the order may not align with the eviction process in Montana.
My two big takeaways based on my years of experience:
- It’s not uncommon to see one of the spouses use the house as a tool of manipulation or a means of control.
- It’s not uncommon for family-law orders to be made that don’t take into account the realities and nuances of real-estate-related matters (like eviction) or law enforcement procedures.
This case is far from over — the judge still has to rule on the specifics of the settlement and custody of their two children — so grab your popcorn and we’ll see how this unfolds!