Shut the front door and jump off your couch—TomKat is no more.
Last week the presses screeched to a grinding halt when sweet little Dawson’s Creek star Katie Holmes filed for divorce from movie megastar Tom Cruise, citing irreconcilable differences.
While the divorce may not be entirely surprising to those of us who were floored when Cruise first leapt onto Oprah’s couch to declare his love for the much-younger actress, Holmes’ custody request is somewhat of a surprise: She is seeking sole custody of their six-year-old daughter, Suri, as well as a determination that she be the parent with whom Suri primarily resides.
Even more interesting is that Holmes filed for divorce in New York despite residing in Los Angeles with Cruise. The reason for the different venue likely comes down to Suri, Holmes’ lookalike daughter always present at her mother’s side.
As any good family law attorney worth their retainer will tell you, when you get married and have the kind of assets Cruise likely has, you better make sure you have a premarital agreement. And, according to E! News, TomKat had that golden document. While the agreement probably lays out how much Holmes receives of the couple’s assets and Cruise’s cash, what it may leave unanswered is what happens to Suri in the event of a split.
California courts rarely award sole custody to any one parent without a very good reason for such a ruling. As such, many custody disputes in our state result in joint legal and physical custody, with one parent being established as the person with whom the child primarily resides.
New York, on the other hand, is reportedly a state in which joint custody isn’t the norm and may be more likely to grant Holmes’ sole custody request in the interest of protecting the child from parents’ conflict.
And while we can speculate all we want – Holmes is trying to protect Suri from the Church of Scientology; Holmes’ prenuptial agreement has reached its five-year mark, giving her a big payday; Holmes and Cruise were a marriage made in Hollywood-manufactured heaven – the truth is something to which we will likely never be privy. After all, that same worthy divorce attorney will also make sure whatever agreement is reached remains confidential between Holmes and Cruise.
Alas, because TomKat was a public creature, there are several things we can surmise:
From all appearances, Holmes has been the parent who has been with Suri the most. Nannies aside, Holmes has been the one most photographed taking her "mini-me" to get ice cream, dance lessons and shoe shopping. She is always holding the ethereal child, who probably could use a little more time walking in those expensive shoes.
Also in Holmes’ corner is how Cruise has treated the relationship between his second wife, Nicole Kidman, and their two adopted children. Although Kidman has always been a class act, Cruise’s parentage and adherence to Scientology have undoubtedly alienated her from Connor, 17, and Isabella, 19.
Kidman said in a 2010 interview that the kids chose to live with their dad. She admitted she would have loved for them to live with her and husband Keith Urban, but resignedly asked, “What can you do?”
Two teenagers are one thing, but a six-year-old who is at the beginning of her formal education as well as forming beliefs that will carry her through life is another. Moreover, many courts consider a parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship with the other parent when deciding with whom the child will live. The fact that Cruise’s children called Kidman “Nicole” for several years and saw her “sometimes” can be taken as proof that Cruise – and his secretive religion—will not actively support a relationship between Holmes and Suri.
Cruise can’t win this fight. Engaging in a custody battle with Holmes would tarnish an already delicate reputation with the public. While people may be willing to forget Cruise’s infamous interview in which he swears Scientology is the way to go – galactic dictator Xenu and all – it’s really hard to overcome taking a young child away from a parent who has been there every designer shoed-step of the way.