Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Reach Divorce, Child Custody Agreement

Amid the media frenzy, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reached a speedy divorce settlement. The agreement was announced yesterday, less than two weeks after Holmes filed for divorce. Although nothing has been confirmed by representatives for Cruise or Holmes, a source said the settlement talks centered on child custody¬†and the role of Scientology in the couple’s daughter’s life.

Cruise is a well-known member of the Church of Scientology, and Holmes was brought up Roman Catholic. A source said that the agreement gives Holmes primary custody and the lead role in raising the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Suri, while Cruise was granted visitation rights.

Compared to issues pertaining to housing or medical care, in disputes about a child’s religious upbringing generally, judges give parents significant leeway in raising their child according to their religious beliefs. Courts tend not to intervene unless the child faces serious harm, or if the religion is used to turn the child against the parent who is not a follower.

In Texas, issues regarding a child’s religious upbringing may be specified in a parenting plan. Additionally, a parenting plan can be used to document arrangements pertaining to a child’s scheduled time with each parent, issues regarding the child’s education, and how important healthcare decisions will be made for the child.

Every child custody case is unique. If you are struggling with child custody issues, a family law attorney can provide further information, options, and advice for your specific situation.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Cruise-Holmes divorce: Scientology still possible for Suri,” Richard Winton, John Horn and Harriet Ryan, July 10, 2012.

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