After six years of what seemed to outsiders to be wedded bliss, Katie Holmes shocked the entertainment world by filing for divorce from her husband Tom Cruise on Friday. Whether a nasty legal battle will follow remains to be seen.
Holmes has filed for sole custody of the couple’s six year old daughter, Suri, leading to speculation that there are differences of opinion within the couple on how their daughter is to be raised. The natural assumption among entertainment news sources is that Tom Cruise’s controlling nature and deep involvement with the Church of Scientology have something to do with split.
Custody issues are the number-one cause of nasty legal battles in most divorce cases. Parents want to be with their children, and want to remain as involved with them as possible. Even the most amicable of splits can turn ugly when a custody battle is involved. In Tom and Katie’s case, things can turn even more sour because she has filed for sole rather than joint custody of their only child, which would give her complete power to make decisions on things such as where Suri lives, goes to school, and her religious upbringing.
Holmes filed for divorce in the state of New York, which is an equal-distribution state. This means that judges decide property distribution among the splitting couple based on what they believe is fair, rather than the 50-50 split provided by a community property state. New York judges also have more power in determining what constitutes an acceptable cause for ending a marriage, including disagreements over how the couple’s children should be raised. This means that Tom and Katie’s lawyers may be in for quite a battle.
Of course, the pre-nuptial agreement that the couple undoubtedly signed before getting married could be what saves the two from a nasty legal battle over finances and perhaps custody ahead. Suri was already seven-months old when the celebrity couple wed, and it is entirely possible that Cruise, who had been divorced two times prior to marrying Holmes, will have had the foresight to ensure that matters of custody were included as well.
If you find yourself in a situation where divorce becomes a consideration, having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can make all the difference. Speak to one of our Chicago divorce lawyers today to schedule an appointment.
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