Spice Girl Mel B is ‘teetering on the brink of bankruptcy’ and cannot afford the $500,000 a Los Angeles judge ordered her to pay ex-husband Stephen Belafonte, according to court documents found by DailyMail.com.
If LA Superior Court doesn’t ‘modify’ the order, Mel, 45, told the court in a written declaration: ‘I will effectively be insolvent and will in all likelihood have to file for bankruptcy.
‘I simply do not have the ability to pay such an exorbitant sum.’
The Too Much singer is asking Judge Mark Juhas to lower the $400,000 in legal fees, plus $100,000 in accounting fees she was ordered September 18 to pay ‘forthwith’ to Belafonte, from whom she was divorced three years ago.
But Mel – whose estimated earnings from last year’s reunion Spice Girls tour of the UK range from $2 million to $10 million – claims that she has been unable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mel B is asking a judge lower the $400,000 in legal fees, plus $100,000 in -husband accounting fees she was ordered to pay ex Stephen Belafonte
Mel and Belafonte divorced three years ago and has been in a contentious custody battle ever since
Her lack of income, plus her $2.5 million debt to the IRS, the $15,000 a month she pays Belafonte in spousal support, the $7,300 she pays in child support for their nine-year-old daughter Madison, plus her own legal fees, have left her virtually broke, she says… even though she estimates her expenses for the next year will be around $700,000.
Mel B is asking LA Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas to lower her $500k payment to Belafonte
Former America’s Got Talent star Mel – who moved back to her native England from LA last year – is so hard up, she claims, that she’s abandoned her efforts to move Madison to the UK to live with her because she can’t afford the attorney fees to continue the legal battle with Belafonte, 45.
Belafonte vehemently opposes the move and wants full custody of Madison.
‘Because of my lack of access to liquid funds, I have formally withdrawn my international move away request that was previously pending as to Madison,’ she wrote in her declaration to the court.
‘I maintain my belief that it would be in Madison’s best interest to move to the UK and reside with me and her older sisters (Angel, 13, by Eddie Murphy, and Phoenix, 21, by her ex, Jimmy Gulzar).
‘I am devastated that given all the financial issues and implications, I am not financially able to advocate for Madison’s relocation to the United Kingdom.’
Mel was able to get cash help from her two companies – Purple Owl and MoneySpider – to pay off some of her court-ordered debts, namely $100,000 to establish a trust fund for Madison, $37,500 toward Belafonte’s accounting fees and $30,000 toward her ex’s attorney fees.
But when she asked her business partner – who is the only person authorized to sign checks drawn on the accounts of both companies – for a $600,000 loan to cover the court-ordered half million dollars she owes, he refused.
‘Partner denied my request,’ she wrote. ‘At this time, I am precluded by partner from obtaining loans for additional funds that are required from the businesses in order to fully comply with the September 18 court order.’
Mel wrote in her declaration to the court, ‘Because of my lack of access to liquid funds, I have formally withdrawn my international move away request that was previously pending as to Madison’
In a separate declaration, Mel’s newly-hired lawyer, Adam Schanz, said: ‘Melanie cannot afford and does not have the ability to make the court-ordered fee awards forthwith and must instead make payments over time’
In the current COVID crisis, Mel has given up almost all hope of finding work ‘for the remainder of this year and into 2021,’ she said.
‘While I hope to find employment opportunities for 2021, I anticipate that it will be difficult to find work as an entertainer in these unprecedented times.
‘I am informed and believe that there will not be any events or concerts in 2021. Therefore, I have no idea how long it will be before I can work and the businesses can earn any significant further income.’
Despite the prospect of zero income, Mel added, ‘My expenses for the next 12 months are estimated to be about $700,000; this about includes certain obligations that are mandatory: spousal support, child support, $15,000 per month payment plan with the IRS and anticipated travel costs for Madison when she travels with me to and from the UK.
‘However, these expenses do not incorporate my outstanding debts, such as my substantial principal amounts owed to the IRS in the approximate amount of $2.5 million… I am also responsible to provide and care for Madison’s two older sisters, one of whom is still a minor.’
In a separate declaration, Mel’s newly-hired lawyer, Adam Schanz, said: ‘Melanie cannot afford and does not have the ability to make the court-ordered fee awards forthwith and must instead make payments over time.
She has abandoned her efforts to move her daughter, 8, to the UK to live with her because she can’t afford the fees to continue the legal battle with Belafonte. Belafonte vehemently opposes the move and wants full custody of Madison (center)
Mel’s estimated earnings for the Spice Girls tour range from $2 million to $10 million
‘Melanie is doing everything she can to comply with the September 18 court order and not bankrupt herself.
‘Melanie will not be able to remain in compliance with the court’s orders without modification.
‘To wit, she is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and she has abandoned her relocation request due to her tenuous financial situation… She is facing undue financial stress and cannot financially comply with the current orders to pay forthwith.’
Judge Juhas originally set a January 25, 2021 date to hear Mel’s motion to modify the order to pay the $500,000 to Belafonte.
But after considering attorney Schanz’s ex-parte argument that Mel ‘needs an earlier hearing date to assert her requests for financial relief,’ Judge Juhas granted the ex-parte and brought the hearing date forward two weeks to January 11, 2021.