Well, it looks like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes aren’t as crazy as the media makes them out to be. Instead, their calm decision to negotiate a divorce settlement rather than have a drawn out court battle royale has ended up in a signed settlement as of Monday, according to TMZ.
This looks like it will be good for both sides, as the negotiations are to cover every aspect of the divorce, from property settlement to child custody and visitation, reports TMZ. It’s even reported that the settlement could be ratified in New York, depriving Cruise’s attorneys the fees required to file the paperwork to move the whole shebang to California.
So besides depriving their lawyers the fees that would have been racked up in multiple court hearings, what else has this settlement covered?
Based on the reports, Cruise’s biggest condition to signing a settlement was for specific visitation rights of the former couple’s daughter, Suri.
In a court supervised divorce, visitation is determined upon the best interests of the child, as well as any history of abuse or neglect by the non-custodial parent. A judge can decide whether there needs to be another adult with the non-custodial parent when there is a visitation or if there need to be specific times of day for a visit to occur.
In a settlement, the parents will agree to the specifics of when, where, and how visitations will happen. As long as the specifics are reasonable, the judge will ratify that part of the settlement without hesitation.
The settlement also allows for the parties to decide exactly what happens with the property that the two have and that which was accumulated during their marriage.
Generally, property is divided based on the law of the state where the couple lives and the classification of the property. New York is not a community property state, but has a division of property law that acts similarly. California, like Texas, is a community property state, which means any assets obtained after marriage are classified community property and split 50/50 upon divorce.
Prenuptial agreements can control whether assets acquired during the marriage are classified as joint property or separate property. Community property can be avoided, but child support cannot, even if there is a prenuptial agreement.
Here, Cruise and Holmes have decided exactly what of their earnings they want to split and what, if any, child support or spousal support Cruise will pay, assuming Holmes is the custodial parent.
What looked to be a windfall for lawyers and the media has become a non-starter for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as their divorce settlement means they can get on with their lives without a court proceeding hanging over them.
- Looking for a Houston Family Lawyer? (FindLaw)
- Sample Form: Property Settlement Agreement (FindLaw)
- Divorcing? Consider an Out of Court Divorce Settlement (Houston Family Law Blog)