For those of us who are fascinated by the lives of the rich and famous, the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will be the source of endless media coverage for a while. According to news reports, Holmes has filed for divorce. According to rumor and speculation, she is asking for sole custody and child support; property division and spousal support are subject to the couple's prenuptial agreement, assuming that they have one.
Cruise had been divorced twice before he married Holmes in 2006. His declarations of love went viral and, it seems, wrecked his relationship with his studio. It all seemed to happen so fast -- but so publicly. Chances are good that the divorce won't be as public, because Holmes has filed in a state where divorce records can be sealed by court order. (Just FYI, this is an option in Illinois, too.)
Without a hint of irony, even major newspapers have reported that Cruise was filming the movie "Oblivion" when he received word of Holmes' petition. Holmes has hired two law firms that handle high-asset and contentious divorces. Cruise, according to his key legal adviser, had not decided who would represent him in the matter. In an ominous aside, the adviser is quoted as saying, "We have to discuss strategy."
If there is a prenuptial agreement, the strategy in question probably has to do with custody and support of Suri Cruise, the couple's 6-year-old daughter. According to an attorney not involved with the Cruise/Holmes divorce, prenuptial agreements hold more sway in court over financial matters. Provisions of the agreement that have to do with children are more likely to be considered aspirational: The court won't enforce the terms, for example, if they aren't in the best interest of the child.
Whatever happens, chances are good that the public will know before Katie, Tom or Suri.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tom Cruise's divorce could get prickly as Katie Holmes lawyers up," Harriet Ryan and John Horn, June 29, 2012