It is only August, and this has already been a strange year for celebrity divorces. The press was almost disappointed that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes managed to settle their custody arrangements within days of their separation. Courteney Cox and David Arquette filed for divorce quietly and apparently without legal representation. Frank and Jamie McCourt battled all last year over the post-nuptial agreement; when 2012 rolled around, their divorce quietly became final. It’s a rare thing to realize that your own divorce is more dramatic than divorces played out in the media.
The Cruise/Holmes divorce became final earlier this week. A judge signed off on the final agreement just two months after Holmes filed. The divorce was over almost before it started. According to the papers, the credit goes to Holmes. She looked before she leapt; with the help of her family and her team of legal advisers, Holmes was able to plan ahead.
First, Holmes surrounded herself with skilled family law attorneys. Their advice, it seems, proved invaluable as they identified the best course of action under Holmes’s particular circumstances. For example, they likely understood that the question of community property laws was moot, thanks to the couple’s antenuptial agreement. They did understand, though, that some states are stricter about the privacy of court documents related to divorces. They also weighed the custody laws in the two states where Holmes could have filed. These are factors in non-celebrity divorces, too.
Holmes had an exit strategy and a communication plan. The difference between her plan and most other people’s plans is simply a matter of scale. Especially when children are involved, ending a marriage takes some planning, and children always benefit from hearing one story and consistent messages from both parents.
So, really, the rich and famous aren’t all that different from the rest of us. There are times, though, when we know more about them than we know about our friends or ourselves.
Source: People.com, “Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes Divorce Is Finalized,” Mike Fleeman, Aug. 21, 2012
Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Illinois family law page.