Marriages made for and on TV generally do not last, and one of the most successful media-created marriages will soon come to an end. The Bachelorette Ashley Hebert dated 25 men during the TV series in 2011. In the end, she chose J.P. Rosenbaum, and he proposed to her on the final series episode. In 2012, they were married during a two-hour television special.
In July 2014, they moved from New York to Miami after real estate entrepreneur Rosenbaum received a job offer. The couple has two children. Their son, Fordham, is 6 and a daughter, Essex, recently turned 4.
While the couple stayed out of the spotlight for the most part, in 2017 they appeared on Marriage Boot Camp, another TV reality show. At the time, Rosenbaum said, “We have small issues like every couple has.” Ashley added that the couple agreed to be on the show to improve their relationship “even more.”
They renewed their vows during a trip to Aruba in 2018. In late 2019, Rosenbaum was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that damages nerves causing muscle weakness and, on occasion, paralysis. After months of therapy, he appears to have substantially recovered.
On October 14, 2020, Ashley announced that, following months of separation, she and Rosenbaum had amicably decided to go their separate ways. Apparently, trouble had been brewing in paradise for some time.” Our differences have taken a toll on our relationship, and after years of attempting to repair the damage, we’ve decided that it is in our family’s best interest to create new and separate lives for our children,” she wrote.
Rosenbaum added in an Instagram post that no one was to blame. “There’s no event that triggered this decision,” he wrote. “I think we’ve come to realize that we are just two very different people.”
Applying New Jersey Law
While it is most likely that Florida law will determine how divorce issues are resolved for Hebert and Rosenbaum, it is interesting to examine how New Jersey law might apply to their situation.
New Jersey has both fault-based and no-fault divorce. In a fault-based divorce, at least one spouse alleges specific misconduct that is the reason for divorce. This may include adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty or other issues.
In a no-fault divorce, a spouse only needs to state that there are irreconcilable differences that have resulted in the marriage being irretrievably broken for at least six months. No-fault divorces tend to be resolved more quickly. Given Rosenbaum’s statement that no one was to blame and Ashley’s post that the split was amicable, under New Jersey law they most likely would pursue a no-fault divorce.
Property division in New Jersey follows the theory of equitable distribution. Spouses retain their separate property which includes property acquired before marriage, gifts and inheritances. Property acquired during the marriage is to be divided fairly but not necessarily equally.
A judge asked to divide property will consider a variety of factors to determine what is fair. These include age, financial situation and health of the spouses, length of the marriage and what each contributed to the marriage among other issues.
The Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and Rosenbaum recently listed their 18,606 square-foot Miami home for sale for $1.15 million. This is likely the largest asset acquired during the marriage. Given that both spouses have careers with decent incomes, they may very well choose to split the proceeds equally.
An award of spousal support, or alimony, can be ordered for several purposes including equalizing the financial status of the spouses or to allow one spouse to obtain needed training and education to become self-supporting. More than a dozen factors can come into play including the length of the marriage, age and health of each spouse, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage and the ability of a spouse to pay.
Rosenbaum’s health issues could be relevant although he appears to have recovered. Rosenbaum is 43 and Hebert is 35. Both have established careers with significant incomes. It is unlikely spousal support will be an issue under these circumstances.
Child support, custody and visitation issues are the most likely matters to create disputes, although it is a good sign that Rosenbaum stated that, “Our ultimate focus is to co-parent our kids to the best of our ability.”
Custody has both legal and physical aspects. Custody and visitation provisions are to be made in the children’s best interests.
Legal custody involves making major decisions such as those related to education, health care or religious upbringing. Physical custody involves where the children will reside. There does not appear to be any past behavior that suggests contact with either parent should be limited. Given the amicability of the split and the desire to actively co-parent, legal custody will probably be joint.
Physical custody may be guided by where the parents reside. If they continue to reside in Miami, the children might alternate residences frequently or have a schedule in which they live with one parent most of the time and with the other parent on alternate weekends along with short visits during the week. If the parents live in different states, the children will likely live with one parent most of the time while the other parent would have the children during extended school vacation periods.
Child support will be based primarily on state guidelines that establish amounts based on parental income. Unless a parent can prove that the guideline amount is unreasonable, the court will generally order that the amount be paid. Factors that can alter the amount include having physical custody of a child more than 28% of the time or having to pay support for a child from another relationship. However, in New Jersey if the couples’ combined net income exceeded $187.000 per year, the court would apply the guidelines up to $187,000 and then supplement the guideline award depending the needs of the children.
While the Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum may be celebrities, the issues they are confronting in divorce are similar to those encountered by almost every couple ending a marriage. Amicability and achieving mutual agreement on the issues is desirable. However, anyone considering divorce should consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure that specific rights and interests are protected. If you have questions concerning a divorce in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.