Date: July 01 2012
Katie Holmes has retained two prominent law firms that specialise in break-ups among the wealthy as she files for divorce from Tom Cruise.
One, a New York lawyer, Allan Mayefsky, has been involved in a number of acrimonious and headline-grabbing splits, including the divorces of the model Christie Brinkley, the television anchorwoman Joan Lunden and a Manhattan financier who was ordered to pay his former wife $US44 million.
Holmes has also hired a New Jersey divorce lawyer, Jonathan Wolfe, whose website boasts of his prowess in "complex matrimonial matters" involving the "leaders or the spouses of leaders" in business, entertainment and sports. He has written about prenuptial agreements and ways to recover hidden assets in a divorce.
The Dawson's Creek actress announced through a lawyer on Friday that she had filed for divorce from her movie star husband of five years. The news surprised the entertainment industry, and apparently the actor himself. Cruise learned Holmes had initiated divorce proceedings in New York while he was working on a film set in Iceland.
In a statement on behalf of Holmes, Mr Wolfe said the divorce was "a personal and private matter". "Katie's primary concern remains, as it has always been, her daughter's best interest," the lawyer said, referring to the couple's daughter, Suri, 6.
Cruise has long been a controversial figure for his statements about psychiatry and his membership of the Church of Scientology, but it was his whirlwind romance with Holmes, who is 16 years his junior, that garnered the most attention.
Their first date was a sushi dinner on his private jet, he proposed underneath the Eiffel Tower, and they were married in a star-studded ceremony in an Italian castle. He infamously jumped on Oprah Winfrey's TV studio coach while professing his new love for Holmes.
Speculation about a prenuptial agreement began almost immediately after the couple's engagement. Cruise's annual earnings – recently estimated by Forbes at $US75 million – dwarfed those of his young bride, whose father is a lawyer.
A Manhattan divorce lawyer with many wealthy clients, Bernard Clair, said judges generally ordered divorcing couples to abide by the terms of their prenuptial agreements when it comes to finances, but courts often modify provisions governing child support and custody, potential issues in the Cruise-Holmes break-up.
The decision to file in New York rather than California might have been one of convenience – Holmes and the couple's daughter are living in New York – but it also might reflect a desire for privacy.
"My guess is that she brought it in New York because files are sealed," another Manhattan divorce attorney, Raoul Felder, said. "If it was in California, it's all public and you can walk into the clerk's office and get the papers."
Los Angeles Times
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