Adele’s Million Dollar Divorce, A Lesson in Selective Outrage & Gender Equality

Dion McNeil
Adele’s massive divorce settlement is a bellwether for what has been happening to Family Court litigants for quite some time. However, it’s only outrageous to some that it is now happening more and more to women.
Adele and Simon Konecki

If you’re reading this then you’ve probably heard about Adele’s $140 million divorce split. Adele has an estimated net worth of $190 million but now has to pay $140 million to her ex-husband. Just because she has an estimated net worth of $190 million doesn’t mean this is the cash she has on hand. The singer recently sold the marital home for $3 million which sounds like a lot of money but she sold the home at a loss.
Even though her ex-husband Simon Konecki didn’t perform any of her songs for her a Family Court Judge decided that he should be paid more than some top Fortune 500 CEOs. This would seem to be relatively normal in the messy world of Hollywood divorces. Enormous settlements and excessive child support and alimony orders have long been the subject for debate as missing any of those payments subjects a person to incarceration, civil penalties and lack of access to children. However, despite the long history of this happening, usually to men, it’s suddenly now because this is happening more and more to women. Just because Adele’s net worth is
Let’s imagine that you’ve been frozen for the past 100 years. Now, let’s say someone introduced you to the internet. If you were to scourer the internet and read some of the opinion pieces about singer Adele’s divorce settlement you’d be under the impression something unprecedented was happening. You’d get the impression that it was relatively unusual for people to be handed large divorce settlements to pay or be threatened with jail time. You’d run across CNN articles about women who earn a lot of money who are decrying alimony payments. You’d be under the impression that it was women and not men who faced persistent gender bias in Family Courts.

You’d be wrong.

Andrea Miller

In 2018, Professor Andrea Miller from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published a research paper titled, “Judges as susceptible to gender bias as laypeople — and sometimes more so.” Keep in mind that Professor Miller’s previous works have been analyzed by The American Bar Association in 2017.
In Dr. Miller’s Judicial Bias paper, we find the following text:

“Judges in the shared-custody case were more likely than laypeople to give a mother more time with a child than a father. The judges gave mothers, on average, about half a day more time with their children than they gave fathers. Laypeople awarded 0.15 of a day more time to mothers. The judges’ tendency to discriminate in this manner coincided with their traditional gender ideologies: The more they supported traditional gender roles for men and women, the more parenting time they gave to the mother in the case.”

Many people, including several state and federal lawmakers, including U.S. Presidents, have acknowledged and knew about this mistreatment. For example, in South Carolina, the Tender Years Doctrine which guaranteed automatic custody of children to the mother was only abolished in 2012. Someone who is making the argument that South Carolina Family Courts are not biased against fathers has an uphill battle when it comes to explaining how an entire court system can change in only 8 years. Some of the same Family Court Judges who were giving automatic custody to mothers before 2012 are still on the bench right now.
In 2013, Everyday Feminism which is a pro-feminist and anti-men’s rights activist website published a piece conceding that there is gender bias against fathers in Family Court. Here is a quote from the article:

“Statistically, it appears that the family courts in the United States are biased against fathers. For example, 83% of mothers receive custody of their children in divorces. Additionally, men are awarded less support on average than mothers who are awarded support. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence citing situations where mothers were awarded custody despite fathers demonstrating interest and potential to provide and care for their children.”

On April 8, 2020, Katherine Singh from Flare published a piece about Adele’s divorce and how the author didn’t like what happened. You don’t need to read the piece to get the gist of what Singh’s angle was. At the very top of the article, you’ll find the words, “This isn’t what women meant when they demanded gender parity.” An obvious question is, “if this person is proclaiming to answer for all women then maybe she could tell us what women wanted?” If this isn’t what women wanted then perhaps there should be more women protesting unfair and often illegal practices by Family Courts. Singh is a self-described feminist. The modern-day feminist ideology has members who preach about men cutting off access to power and wealth that men have always enjoyed. Wouldn’t it be fair to assume that the lack of protesting from at least a sizable amount of American women be a potent symbol that women know the Family Courts are biased in their favor?
No, this isn’t unprecedented. This happens rather often. Men have been the majority of the people who have suffered at the hands of Family Courts across the country with several deceptive and often illegal tactics utilized to stack the odds against them to deny visitation with children, payment of excessive child support, court fees, attorney fees and sometimes for several attorneys, and guardian-ad-litem fees. While people shouldn’t use this as a “gotcha” moment it should be a moment for reflection. If someone is upset with the idea of Adele having to pay her ex-husband $150 million when she is only worth $190 million then that person should ask themselves, “by what principles am I upset?” Should a person be upset that this is happening to a person at all or that it’s happening to a woman? Where was Katherine Singh and all the people detesting this Family Court ruling when it was happening to men in the United States?

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

The reason why Adele’s struggles fall on deaf ears to some men is that while this sort of stuff was happening to men a lot of people justified it. For example, Paul McCartney was ordered to pay his ex, Heather Mills, $48.6 million and yet when this author checked there wasn’t a bunch of protests about this. McCartney was also ordered to pay $70,000 a year for the couple’s child including nanny fees and school fees. Well, there were protests but it was mostly from men and rappers such as Outkast’s Big Boi about the subject. Someone could say that Adele wrote those songs, did the tours, and did the work. The same is true for Paul McCartney who wrote legendary songs and is widely regarded as one of the most influential entertainers of all time.
According to the American Bar Association Journal, during the divorce proceedings, UK Justice Hugh Bennett appeared to describe Mills as money seeking and that she expected for McCartney to fund her lifestyle for the rest of her life. Justice Bennett is quoted as saying, “Although she strongly denied it her case boils down to the syndrome of ‘me, too’ or ‘if he has it, I want it too.’ … It must have been plain to the wife after separation that it was wholly unrealistic to expect to go on living at the rate at which she perceived she was living.” Court documents reveal that Mills claimed to have been McCartney’s “business partner.” Justice Bennett didn’t believe that Mills substantially contributed to McCartney’s musical success which is why Mills only got $48.6 million. Surely, she will find a way to make do.
Where was the outrage for Mark Roesler? South Carolina Family Court Judge Rochelle Conits granted Roesler a divorce from his then-wife Sarah Roesler. The divorce was granted based on the wife’s physical cruelty. Here is a quote directly from Mark Roesler’s appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals: “Shortly thereafter, a dispute arose between Husband and Wife over money and whether they were able to afford the Greer house.  Wife began hitting and slapping Husband.  Husband left the hotel and Wife followed.  As Husband attempted to leave the parking lot in his car, Wife used her car to push Husband’s car approximately six feet onto the curb to prevent him from leaving.  Wife exited her vehicle and began tossing items from Husband’s trunk.”
One would think that a judge who concedes that a wife is physically cruel wouldn’t grant custody of both children to the wife and make the abused combat veteran pay $4000 a month in child support. That person who believed a judge wouldn’t do such a thing would be wrong. That’s exactly what Judge Conits did. Mark Roesler appealed Judge Conit’s decision where something questionable was revealed. Judge Conits based the child support payments on Mark Roesler’s combat pay during a tour of duty but Mark Roesler was no longer in the military. How can a judge base child support payments based on combat pay that a combat veteran is no longer receiving?
Read More About Judge Conits: Click Here
What about Craig McCaw? This was a pioneer in the cellular industry and was very rich. When he divorced Wendy McCaw, a newspaper publisher, she asked for a whopping $200,000 a month to “support her lifestyle” but settled for a modest $450 million. Nobody could suggest that a newspaper publisher couldn’t make $450 million in their lifetime or $200,000 a month from sales. However, is it reasonable to have someone make this kind of money from a divorce when she doesn’t have the same technology mind as Craig McCaw whose alma mater is Stanford University? Where was the outrage?

Dave Foley

What about the actor and American Icon Dave Foley? He has shown up in numerous films and television productions including Disney’s Onward, Monsters University, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, American Playhouse, Scrubs, It’s Always Sunny in Cleveland, Desperate Housewives, and many more. Foley’s story has been featured on the Joe Rogan Podcast. In 1997, Foley divorced his then-wife Tabatha Southey. He has publicly stated that he hasn’t returned to Canada because he was ordered to pay $17,700 a month to Southey in child support and if he does return he believes he will be arrested.
Foley says that this would be 400% of his income that he has to pay in child support. Is it justifiable to have a person like Dave Foley be in exile from Canada because of, what many would describe, as excessive child support payments? Usually, child support is only supposed to be a 3rd of someone’s income split over 12 months. Foley would have to make $632,700 and pay that in child support before paying bills, agents, and finding something to eat.
Foley gave a detailed account of his Family Court experience on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

Where was the sympathy for these men? Let’s take a look at the usual excuses and justifications given to hand-wave away what happens in Family Court:

  • “He must have cheated.”
  • “Well, she raised the kids so she deserved it.”
  • “He decided to get married. Nobody forced him to do it.”
  • “When you get married she deserves half.”
  • “I know his child support is high and isn’t what a child needs but pay it.”
  • “Maybe if he goes to jail enough he will pay me on time.”

Did Adele cheat? Maybe her husband took care of the house while she was away? Did anyone force Adele to get married? Just because she got married her ex-husband deserves $140 million of her hard-earned money? In 2011, Adele damaged her vocal cords while singing on a French radio program. Did her husband damage his vocal cords to where he deserves this sort of payout? Depending on your answers to those questions there could be room for soul searching and examination of inner biases.
If you believe that Adele damaging her vocal cords, doing countless hours on tour, writing songs and performing means that someone shouldn’t be able to erase most of that then you’ll have to logically and rationally concede other points. For example, if a basketball player and his wife split up and that wife hasn’t even made a single lay-up or jump shot then perhaps she doesn’t automatically deserve half. Perhaps a soldier who served in combat while his wife sat safely at home shouldn’t have their wages taken for excessive child support and alimony payments.
In 2018, comedian Aries Spears who is best known for his role on Mad TV spoke about his own child support situation. Spears also spoke to what he believes child support should be and what he describes as “financial rape in court” of male litigants in family courts.

In conclusion, if it is outrageous for one gender then it is outrageous for all genders. Adele is a victim of predatory and often immoral Family Court practices. It’s good to see that there are women who are protesting against this harsh and tyrannical treatment. Suppose that every man was convinced that the gender wage gap was real. How would women ever rise up to make as much as their male counterparts and risk getting married when there is a real threat of them becoming like Adele? It would appear that things are changing and now that some people who haven’t experienced Family Court nonsense gender equality is suddenly a trend. Some could say that the men who have experienced family court would have one message to their newfound women allies and that message is, “welcome, glad to see you’ve noticed.”