Kelly Clarkson’s Divorce & the Montana Ranch

Kelly Clarkson’s 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.

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:

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 — a classic symptom of an in-spouse with nothing to gain from the sale.

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.

Complicated “stuff” on the premises, such as livestock, dilapidated motor vehicles, or inventory from a business should really be addressed before listing the property.

OR

Clarkson will need to go back to court to get him removed. That also gets complicated because it will likely be an L.A. judge making an order that law enforcement in Montana would have to enforce. 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 experience in divorce real estate:

Shore up the property first. Blackstone will have to move at some point, so it’s better to have him out of the picture sooner rather than later. If the livestock hasn’t already been rehomed, at the very least, have a plan for it so there are no delays that could put them in breach of a timeline-riddled contract.

Line up the eviction or possession procedures in Montana before requesting an order, so that a judge’s orders are appropriate enough to be carried out by law enforcement.

It will be interesting indeed to see how this one unfolds!

Have a great week!

Cheers, Matt Wadsworth is a divorce attorney serving the Wasatch Front: Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City, Draper, Provo, Lehi etc. Utah.

Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates