The Spice Girl is seen as a contender to replace Nicole Scherzinger after the singer was axed. However, Mel would likely face legal challenges from Belafonte if she chooses to spend months in London with their daughter.
Insiders tell Page Six that Mel wants to take their daughter Madison, 6, who Belafonte shares joint custody of, with her and her other children for the duration of the show.
But that would mean having to apply for permission from a judge in Los Angeles to take Madison out of the country — and her ex would also have to agree.
Belafonte sources say he would fight against Madison being away for as long as four months.
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Mel and Belafonte are also still battling over visitation rights for Angel, 10, her child with Eddie Murphy, so she would be expected to attend any court hearings as pertaining to the case.
Brown’s legal drama could mean show bosses rule her out of a return to the ITV series, which she last filmed in 2014.
A source told The Sun Online: “Mel is interested in the ‘X Factor.’ She knows the show and loves working with Simon, and does resonate with audiences.
“But there would be a problem if she took the job for sure — as her husband would want to make sure Madison remains near him.
“He could push that in court and it could take months to resolve.
“Also if he wins rights to see Angel, then that too would mean them having to come to visitation deals, which again would likely mean her having to jet back regularly with Angel.
“The couple are just not pushing back on their anger for one another over their kids.
“The thought of a deal being done to allow her to go to London for three to four months is unthinkable.”
The source added: “Mel’s predicament is likely to also weigh heavily on the mind of show bosses and Simon. They do not want to become embroiled in any of these personal matters.
“It is likely that she will miss out the way things stand at present. ”
Meanwhile, Mel has been juggling “America’s Got Talent” and Spice Girls projects along with her bitter court battles with Belafonte.
The warring couple got divorced in December but are still embroiled in custody disputes over Madison and Angel.
Stephen, who has been awarded joint custody of Madison, now wants step-parent visitation to stepdaughter Angel, 10, who he has helped raise since birth.