The eight-year marriage of Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum is coming to an end. The Bachelorette star revealed the sad news on Instagram, writing, “It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that, after months of separation, Jp and I have amicably decided to go our separate ways.” While Hebert did take time to remember the good, she explained frankly that, “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.”
Now begins the awkward process of divorcing, including the nitty-gritty aspects of dividing assets and dealing with custody of their two young children. Nicki Swift spoke with Rebecca Zung, Esq., a divorce lawyer and partner at Long, Murphy, & Zung, about just what will likely come from this split. According to Zung, there is one detail that would change everything: whether or not Hebert and Rosenbaum signed a prenup.
If Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum did sign a prenup…
If Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum did sign a prenuptial agreement, the divorce will be fairly clear-cut, divorce lawyer Rebecca Zung, Esq. tells Nicki Swift. In terms of dividing assets and spousal support payments, Zung said that the agreement likely covered those decisions already. Prenups tend to have partners “both waive any rights to earnings created during the marriage and any active appreciation on pre-maritally acquired assets,” Zung said. In terms of spousal support, Zung says that in the off-chance that the prenup didn’t specify a fixed spousal support amount, “They appear to make about the same amount of money so it may not be an issue anyway.”
Child custody will be a bit more difficult because it is not possible for a prenup to “contract for anything regarding custody of the children,” so the court will still have to make that decision, Zung added. She explained, “Even if the parents had addressed future children in a prenuptial agreement, those terms may not be upheld, especially if one of them contests the terms of the prenup.” Child support will also have to be decided by the courts, likely based on their individual incomes, because it’s another thing that can’t be determined in a prenup.
Legal fees could get costly, though, if either Hebert or Rosenbaum contest the prenup. Zung said, “Many prenups contain provisions that if one party contests the prenup and loses, that losing party has to pay both sides’ attorneys’ fees for the litigation over the validity of the prenup.”
If they didn't sign a prenup…
In the case that Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement, things could get a bit more tricky. Divorce lawyer Rebecca Zung, Esq. told Nicki Swift that in her estimation, since the two are parting on good terms without alleging adultery or addiction issues, the assets will probably be split evenly. Alimony will probably be fairly simple, as both parties have similar income, and child custody will probably be up to them to sort out, as well. “Most courts are favoring a 50/50 parenting plan nowadays but it will also depend upon both of their work schedules,” Zung explained.
Child support will probably depend on their incomes, too. According to Zung, “Most states incorporate a ‘pro-rata’ split — meaning that if he makes 60% of the total income and she makes 40% of the total combined income then each will cover that amount of the expenses that aren’t covered by child support.” Legal fees will likely be split equally as well.
While that all may seem fairly straightforward, Zung said the place that issues could really arise is in dividing the home.
What will happen to the couple's house?
What becomes especially difficult, divorce lawyer Rebecca Zung, Esq. told Nicki Swift, is settling the real estate. Assuming Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum bought their home together, Zung said, “The best options will be that either one of them buys the other out of the home or they sell it and split the net proceeds.” If one of them buys the other out of the house, things could get more difficult as the new, sole owner will have the option to refinance the home. What does that mean?
Zung explained it like this: “If the house is worth $500,000 and they have a $300,000 mortgage on it, then there is $200,000 in equity in the home, meaning each party is entitled to $100,000. That means the person who is keeping the home will have to qualify for a loan for the $300,000 plus the $100,000 for a total of $400,000 so that the person who is not retaining the home can receive their $100,000 and be able to walk away.” Due to these complications, Zung said, it’s often easier for couples to just sell the home altogether.
Refinancing isn’t a requirement, however. Zung told us, “If the home is not refinanced then the other person remains on the mortgage and this will count against their credit when they try to get another loan.” The mortgage company will want to keep the parties on the hook for the loans, so refinancing is often the easiest option.
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