After five years of marriage Katie Holmes filed for divorce from husband Tom Cruise on June 28, 2012. However, the most surprising part of this celebrity divorce is the quick resolution. Just eleven days after filing the initial paperwork, Katie's attorney announced that the couple reached a final settlement of the case. TomKat have been hesitant to comment on the split, but have released a statement regarding their six-year-old daughter, Suri. The vague statement expressed a desire to accomplish what is in Suri's best interest, keep private family matters out of the press, and explained the mutual respect Katie and Tom have for each other's respective beliefs. This reference to religious beliefs might be an indication that Tom's emersion in the religion of Scientology may have contributed to the split.
There is much speculation surrounding the quick and secretive manner in which the divorce was filed. The debate centers on whether Katie was trying to escape Scientologists or the media frenzy that surrounds public figures. The fact that the couple reached such a quick settlement tends to establish that Katie was not working on ending the marriage alone. Other experts speculate that a prenuptial agreement may have hurried the process along. Katie's quick moves took careful planning over many months. Rumors indicate that she obtained a disposable phone and many laptops in order to keep discussions with her attorney private.
All of the stealth may have been a strategy imposed by Katie to get what she wanted most out of the divorce, sole custody of Suri. When the divorce was initially filed, Katie sought sole custody. However, it seems that the couple settled on primary legal custody to Katie. A major part of the negotiations surrounded Suri's future upbringing and care. It is important to note that the official settlement has not been released or made public.
Like in California, a person must satisfy the residency requirements before filing for divorce in the State of New York. Katie and Tom have lived all over the globe and therefore may have a difficult time establishing residency in any state. However, if a husband and wife were married outside of New York and never lived together as husband and wife in the state and the grounds for divorce did not occur in the state, one spouse must be a resident and have continuously resided in the state for at least two years prior to filing for divorce. Compared to California's six-month residency requirement, New York law is far more complicated. Interestingly, Katie spent time in New York each month for the last two years. The frequent contact with the State of New York is speculated to be the foundation of residency for divorce purposes.
As we have previously blogged, in California, there is a required six-month waiting period after a divorce is filed before marital status is terminable. In New York, there is no such requirement. Thus, after judgment is entered on the TomKat divorce, which should be soon considering the "final settlement," either party is free to legally remarry.
Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only lawyer in San Diego County representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don't settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.