Katie Holmes dropped the biggest bombshell to hit the celebrity gossip mill in quite some time when she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise last week. Countless stories have been published on TomKat’s impending split since then, but one issue looms large: who will get custody of Suri, and will the custody battle be a bloodbath?
Holmes’ divorce petition requests that she have sole legal and primary physical custody of Suri, a move you don’t usually see if a split is amicable. If Holmes does receive primary physical custody, Cruise would still be able to spend time with Suri but would not have a say in major decisions concerning Suri’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing and more.
Holmes’ request is significant because it would give her the opportunity to create space between Suri and the Church of Scientology. Cruise is a vocal Scientologist well known for his devotion to the religion, . Holmes was once a member of the Church, but appears to have backed away from the religion in recent years and actually believes the Church is having her followed. Holmes is said to have decided to file for divorce because she feared Cruise would send Suri to a Scientology “boot camp” called the Sea Organization.
Filing in New York vs. filing in California
While Holmes and Cruise married overseas and got their marriage license in California, Holmes’ divorce petition was filed in New York. Holmes’ choice of location when filing for divorce in New York is widely viewed as a strategic move by those familiar with child custody laws and the way the courts lean throughout the United States — New York is known for granting sole legal custody in situations where there is discord between parents, whereas California favors joint custody when possible. Cruise is reportedly trying to have divorce proceedings moved to the Sunshine State but there is no news on whether or not this would be successful. (The couple owns property in both states.)
In addition to asking for sole legal custody and primary physical custody, Holmes is also requesting a reasonable amount of child support from Cruise.