Friday, July 6, 2012
TomKat Divorce - FAQ's, Etc.
TomKat Divorce - FAQ's and Answers
Every time a celebrity divorce is filed, my phones are ringing off the hook from curious reporters. I have compiled a list of popular questions and my answers for your inquiring minds.
1. Will it be an expensive divorce?
Divorce is usually expensive when it is litigated. It would only be litigated if there are issues that cannot be resolved. Here, the couple had a prenuptial agreement which likely would resolve all of their financial issues, including community property and spousal support. The ONLY issue that a prenup CANNOT resolve is issues about child custody or child support. So, if the couple were to litigate, it would be on these issues alone.
2. Will being a Scientologist hurt Tom Cruise in the custody proceedings?
Not necessarily. In all 50 states, the courts look to the "best interests of the children" in awarding custody. Lots of factors, other than religion, would be looked at in awarding custody. Tom isn't going to automatically lose custody solely because he is a Scientologist. He won't win custody over it either.
Also, depending on how faithful Tom is to his religion, I highly doubt he will go great lengths to do anything that would be harm the religion's reputation. As I stated in my quote to Newsweek/Daily Beast, Tom has a lot of secrets to protect, and a lot of money to protect them.
I predict this divorce will settle without much ado about nothing.
3. Will filing in New York give Katie an advantage?
California courts prefer joint custody. I have heard that New York courts are more prone to sole custody, either legal or physical. Katie Holmes has requested joint physical and sole legal custody.
New York courts seal files to preserve privacy. California courts are not so enthusiastic about sealing files.
4. Will Tom Cruise completely lose custody?
Katie Holmes has not requested sole physical custody. Tom is still Suri's daddy! Tom will still be able to see Suri. Katie only requested sole LEGAL custody, which is the decisionmaking power over the child. Arguably, this has something to do with RELIGION, so she can naysay Scientology. However, legal custody also deals with education, healthcare decisions, and other general welfare. Perhaps Katie is requesting sole legal custody simply because she has always been the one making decisions in Suri's life.
5. The couple is worth $275 million! Will Katie get half?
Katie will get whatever it says in the prenup, plus child support which will be determined by law. Since Tom is not a stranger to marriages or prenups, it's pretty certain that his prenup is ironclad, and both parties know exactly where they stand financially.
6. Will this divorce ruin Tom Cruise's reputation?
This is not an appropriate question for a divorce lawyer, who is also a big fan of Tom Cruise AND Katie Holmes.
Lessons to Learn
1. Always, always get a solid, clear prenup. Marriage is grand! Divorce is 150-grand.
2. If you are getting married, be equally yoked in religion. Depending on what religion you are, and how devout you are in practicing that religion, you should probably find the same in a spouse. I suppose a non-practicing Christian can marry a non-practicing Jew and still live happily ever after. But, a hardcore Scientologist marrying a hardcore Muslim would probably not work out.
3. If you are getting married, and plan to have children - should probably have some joint counseling as to how you will raise your children. Education? Religion? Discipline?
4. Marriage, and especially marriages creating children - should be taken much more seriously than all this crap we read in tabloids. Enough said.
Until the next Hollywood divorce saga, I remain
Very truly yours,
Los Angeles Divorce and Family Lawyer
Kelly Chang Rickert