RHOC Fraudulent divorce? James Bergener says he and Noella were living together in Puerto Rico before the divorce

The divorce of RHOC’s Noella Bergener and her personal injury lawyer husband “Sweet James” Bergener continues to play out on Instagram over the holidays. James started the public interactions with a series of videos posted on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2021.) Noella responded on Christmas Day (December 25, 2021) and followed up a few days later. On December 29, 2021, James posted an “attorney letter” arguing that the Puerto Rican divorce went through because they had established residence there and had planned to live there. Noella has previously alleged that the Puerto Rican divorce is “fraudulent,” but she still hasn’t responded to this letter.

James’ letter has bullet points of a timeline of events written by attorneys at Core Law Group.

“In our modern world, people often exploit television and social media to twist facts and influence opinions. Sadly, online public shaming can be a tool for emotional and financial leverage,” the letter begins. “Noella Bergener has used social media and television to do just that. Our goal is to provide the public with the facts related to James Bergener’s ongoing divorce from Noella Bergener.”

Below is the list of things the letter states as fact.

“James and Noella dated for 5 years. They were legally married on June 18, 2020. Their marriage lasted about one year.

James and Noella moved their family to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in late 2020. They were granted permanent residence in January 2021. James and Noella signed documents, under penalty of perjury, stating they intended to permanently reside in Puerto Rico. The only house they own is in Puerto Rico. Noella made several social media posts in 2021 sharing the family’s excitement about living in Puerto Rico.

In May of 2021, Noella left the family home in Puerto Rico and returned to California to pursue a television role on Real Housewives of Orange County. James continued to reside in Puerto Rico. He still resides in Puerto Rico today.

In late July 2021, James told Noella he did not want their son to be part of the Real Housewives television show. James does not want their son exploited for fame and ratings. (We aren’t mentioning their son’s name for the same privacy concerns.)

On July 29, 2021, Noella’s legal representatives told our firm that Noella was going to file for separation from James. James filed for divorce the next day in Puerto Rico.

After multiple hearings, a Puerto Rico judge ruled Puerto Rico is the appropriate jurisdiction for the divorce proceeding. James and Noella both appeared, represented by Puerto Rico lawyers, and made their respective cases. Noella’s public claim that there was a “fraudulent divorce” is simply false.

A Puerto Rico court divorced James and Noella, making them single people, on December 8, 2021. Custody and financial issues will be addressed separately if a settlement is not reached.
Since September 2021, James and Noella have participated in mediation and ongoing settlement discussions about custody and financial issues of the one-year marriage. A retired judge acted as mediator. James and Noella have both been represented by lawyers during settlement discussions. James believes his proposals are fair, generous, and within the bounds of the law.

Since August 1, 2021, James has repeatedly asked to see his son. He has paid substantial sums in childcare, housing, therapy, health insurance, food, other expenses for his son, and amounts that supplement Noella’s lifestyle. James feels Noella is withholding their son and using the media to get more than she is entitled. James feels extorted.

James has not and will never abandon his son. He loves his son dearly. Any insinuation to the contrary is a lie. James hopes this public release speaks truth to the derogatory statements Noella continues to spread. James will not tolerate Noella exploiting their son for fame or financial leverage. James asks everyone to, please, respect his son’s privacy and to not believe everything they see on social media and Real Housewives.”

The letter claims James and Noella started living together in Puerto Rico in 2020, which conflicts with Noella’s claim that the house they purchased there was just a vacation home. It’s also claimed that Noella left this residence in May of 2021 so she could film for RHOC.

James also shared two screenshots of comments Noella made on Instagram as receipts for his claim that they were living permanently in Puerto Rico.

In one comment Noella writes “We’re 3 months in Puerto Rico and I have never felt more at home.”

Another highlighted comment is a reply to a question asking if her son lives in Puerto Rico and her daughter lives in California. She replies with: “My daughter is from my previous relationship and in an effort to support her relationship with her bio dad I make the commute.” This does seem to imply that she is settled in Puerto Rico and only “commutes” to California to give her daughter visits with her dad.

Noella responded to this by reposting someone else accusing James of trying to establish residency in Puerto Rico to avoid paying California taxes and to avoid paying Noella alimony.

James also claims that he only filed for divorce from Noella after her lawyers informed his lawyers she intended to file for separation. Noella has previously said that he paid for her to get a retainer for her lawyer, which only proves that they both had lawyers early on in this situation.

He says they were legally divorced on December 8, 2021, but Noella has called this divorce “fraudulent.” James disputes this by saying that both he and Noella appeared in Puerto Rico for the divorce proceedings.

James also refutes Noella’s claim that he has abandoned their son by saying that he has repeatedly asked to see him and has continued to pay for the child’s expenses. Noella has claimed that James made no attempt to see their son even though he has visited California several times since their split. The letter states that James “feels extorted” and that Noella is using the media to “get more than she is entitled.”

The night the letter was posted Noella put up a poll on Instagram stories asking if she should respond to James’ letter with bullet points but opted to take a bath instead. She said that the bullet points were coming, but according to her Instagram stories, Noella has spent the day out having fun with her daughter Coco.

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