Mel B

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Officially calling an end to her 10-year rollercoaster marriage, former Spice Girl Mel B recently filed for divorce from her husband Stephen Belafonte.

Specialist divorce and Family Law solicitor Jenine Abdo investigates.

When 2 become 1

Multiple ‘blazing rows’ the couple had over Mel’s ‘$40million fortune’ were the final straw for the America’s Got Talent judge, according to the Daily Mirror, who decided to end her decade-long marriage on the grounds of ‘irreconcilable differences’.

Planning to ‘break free’ from Stephen for the past 2 years, Mel’s decision comes after the recent passing of her father and reconciliation with her estranged mother and sister, which “provided a moment of complete clarity for Mel.”

Speaking to The Sun, a close friend of the former Spice Girl said:

“It was very sad because she simply didn’t have the strength to leave…They would split up for a period, but something kept drawing her back.”

Mel has also asked for joint custody of the couple’s 5-year-old daughter Madison.

Escaping a ‘toxic’ marriage

For years, Mel and Stephen’s marriage has been plagued with rumours of infidelity and domestic violence, with the Daily Mirror suggesting that they had spent ‘half their marriage in therapy.’

Stephen’s history of violent behaviour may have been a factor in the couple’s split, as one source revealed:

“Stephen was all about control. There were times he’d take over her social media accounts to post messages about himself as if Mel had said them.”

Allegations of physical abuse were also made against Stephen in 2014 when Mel appeared on The X Factor UK in 2014 with scratches and bruises, following being rushed to hospital with stomach pains.

Stephen denied that he was responsible for harming Mel, but this wasn’t the first time that he had found himself in a similar situation. In 2003, he violently attacked his former wife Nicole and mother of his daughter, Giselle. At the time, he didn’t contest the charges but soon argued that his admission came from being “confused and stressed” rather than guilty. This plea was, however, rejected.

Going for half of everything

As the couple allegedly don’t have a pre-nuptial agreement, those close to Mel – who is worth £26.4million – fear that Stephen will try to get a hefty divorce settlement, especially since he has played a role in some of the deals she’s made.

A source said:

“He will go for half of everything plus he’s entitled to his 25 percent commission on top of that on any deals he’s set up. He could potentially earn a lot of money.”

Jenine comments:

“Walking away from an unstable or violent relationship is the best thing that anyone can do for themselves, but ultimately for the safeguarding of their children whose welfare is paramount.”

“Many victims of abuse are afraid of the consequences of leaving an abusive relationship, and that the law won’t be there to protect them. With the Government looking at how the laws surrounding domestic abuse can be improved, this will hopefully give victims the confidence they need to come forward.”

“However, it’s important to remember that regardless of whether someone is female or male there are many agencies that can help people who suffer from domestic violence and/or abuse. For example, I work with two great agencies within the Cardiff area, Women’s Aid and BAWSO, which are always on hand to help people.”  

“If Mel and Stephen don’t have a prenuptial agreement in place, this might also make negotiations during the divorce difficult – especially if Stephen has been involved in some of the financial deals that Mel has made. Even though they’re not currently legally binding in the UK, prenups do act as a guideline on how a couple’s assets should be split by the Courts in England and Wales.”

“With Mel asking for joint custody of her daughter, this might prevent her and Stephen from getting involved in a custody battle – which can turn nasty very quickly. However, in England and Wales parties who split, whether married or not, must be mindful that there is no such thing as custody. The application that can be made is a Child Arrangement Order, which deals with either a parent seeking residence of a child/children or contact.”

Written by Jenine Abdo.

For more information on divorce law and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call

0808 129 3304

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