SAN DIEGO, June 29, 2012 - Apparently gossip reporters should stake out the Los Angeles courts on all Fridays before holidays. There is a trend developing.
Katie Holmes announced through her attorney today just like Maria Shriver did about one year ago, that she is filing from divorce from her actor husband Tom Cruise today, although no paperwork has yet been filed with the Los Angeles courts.
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage, following Shriver's discovery that her husband had been unfaithful and had hidden this fact for 10 years of their very public married life.
The Holmes - Cruise union is breaking just shy of six years citing "irreconcilable differences". Holmes is said to be asking for sole legal and primary residential custody of Suri.
Could 'irreconcilable difference' mean something very different than we might assume (click to enlarge)
Cruise, who is filiming in Iceland may have not seen this coming. Reports on CNN say that Holmes filed papers yesterday, Thursday July 28, 2012.
From the beginning, celebs Arnold and Maria have done their best to keep their divorce proceedings out of the public eye, which the Cruise-Holmes camp begging that they be given privacy at this time as well.
"This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family," Holmes' attorney Jonathan Wolfe told People. "Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest."
That will take some serious effort, when announcements are made on the Friday before a major summer holiday when the news is slowing down.
We can't help but be fascinated by these announcements. People like Katie and Tom, and Arnold and Maria are as close as America gets to royalty. They are popular superstars in sports, acting, business, and politics.
Holmes and Cruise are right up there in the top echelon of public figures. If you don't think so, just check to see what the number one search is on Google right now. Is it health care reform? Turmoil in the Middle East? No, it's the announcement of Tom Cruise being divorced by his wife.
But let's remember, these are real people with real problems. A family with a young child is being torn apart in the public eye.
Sure, we'll get the jokes about Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch, but this is no joke to them. Going through a divorce or dissolving a longtime partnership can be the most traumatic experience someone will ever face, often more difficult than dealing with the death of a loved one.
My job as a family law attorney is to make the hard parts of the process simple from a legal standpoint, and provide the best advice possible to help an individual make the decisions that are right for them and their family.
If either Katie or Tom came through my door tomorrow, or Arnold or Maria for that matter, this is what I would do for them.
Was there a prenuptial agreement put into place before Holmes and Cruise got married? Any settlement will be a lot less messy with a solid prenup. If the couple can at least present a united front regarding the welfare of their daughter, everything else goes much more easily.
Children are always a couple's most important asset and should be treated so. They are not a tool for retribution or revenge.
The best possible outcome to protect their daughter is for Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise to keep their divorce private and out of the court system. Photo: Babble.com
In any divorce, children are the true victims. If asked, I would recommend therapy in the strongest possible terms for all kids whose parents are divorcing, particularly in the public eye - and particularly if there is any "dirt" yet to come out about infidelities, religious differences due to the couple's previously publicized practice of Scientology, or other unsavory issues.
It won't be easy, but Holmes and Cruise need to do whatever it takes to keep their personal lives private in this matter if they wish to avoid a long, expensive, damaging divorce.
They both owe it to their daughter Suri even if they don't care whether they hurt each other.
Collaborative divorce, private mediation, or confidential judicial arbitration are all good options and absolutely the way to go. It should be handled as swiftly as possible. I urge them both not to sweat the small stuff, make it as quick and clean as possible. I give this advice to most of my clients, as long as there is no abuse or dangerous behavior involved in the marriage.
Whether or not you are a celebrity, everyone going through a divorce needs to know that it's going to get worse before it's going to get better. But it will get better.
From there, you can face the reality of focusing on your own healing, and see yourself and your family through to a healthier, happier future. Even if you're Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, Arnold or Maria.
Myra Chack Fleischer founded Fleischer & Ravreby in 2001 and serves as Lead Counsel with a focus on divorce, property, custody and support, settlement agreements, mediation, asset division and family law appeals. Read more Legally Speaking in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Fleischer & Ravreby on Facebook and on Twitter @ LawyerMyra
Copyright © 2012 by Fleischer & Ravreby