Katie Holmes First Mistake: She Wants Sole Custody

One of my pet peeves is lawyers who allow their clients to file divorce proceedings where they ask for sole custody. That’s what Katie Holmes has done in her divorce filing against Tom Cruise.

It’s an utter waste of time and a surefire way to escalate the conflict in a divorce case. Why do I say this?

Mainly because the days of “ownership” of children are thankfully, long gone. In asking for sole custody a parent is suggesting their partner is not fit to participate in decision-making when it comes to their children and often the notion of sole custody implies drastically limited access time for the non-custodial parent.

As well, parents who accede to their lawyer’s admonition to claim sole custody do not have the best interests of their children in mind and…let me go further…in doing so they display a significant character flaw.

Now before I go too far, I should say that where a parent is a child abuser, an out-of-control drug addict or alcoholic, or has a debilitating psychiatric disorder with little hope of redemption, sole custody may be appropriate. But most custody cases involve two adequate parents who can work together for the good of their child and put aside their anger, disappointment, resentment, and distress over the marriage breakdown.

For the last decade or so, joint custody is the parenting norm. However, many people don’t understand what that entails. Joint custody does not mean equal parenting time, although that may be one aspect of it. Joint custody means shared decision-making with respect to the important decisions required to raise a child: medical, educational, and religious upbringing.

Oh, you say, no wonder Ms. Holmes sought sole custody. She obviously wants to prevent her 6-year-old daughter Suri from being raised in the Church of Scientology. That may be her motive, but I suggest it’s too late for that now.

As I understand it, Katie embraced the doctrine of Scientology, hook, line, and sinker. To persuade a judge that Scientology is now the root of all evil will be an uphill argument. But she is still one step ahead of Mr. Cruise, having moved to New York City with Suri and establishing a new residence. A good strategy for a parent who is wants to exclude the other.

There’s no doubt that the Cruise/Holmes’ family could wage war over their daughter and make several lawyers very rich. I sincerely hope they are smart enough to do the right thing: settle a parenting plan discretely and privately.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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16 thoughts on “Katie Holmes First Mistake: She Wants Sole Custody

  1. Hello Georgilee, Paul emailed your comments to me, and I totally agree! I have followed the same principles in my own family law practice, i.e. children have 2 parents and there are very few situations which require those bonds to be reduced or severed. Violence is probably the only one. Part of the reason I decided to retire a few years ago is that I was tired of dealing with adversarial lawyers who avoided any thought of mediation and amicable settlements and rushed into court, no doubt with their eyes on the financial benefits for them.

    Freddie Hackshaw

  2. Georgialee: Very wise views…looking at children’s needs before parental wants. There is no way around it, that “lawyers to the stars”, are about fat fees, and taking the legal but expensive route (the long way around the mountain), instead of a practical straight course from point S to point D. All could be negotiated and concluded outside the Court, and putting to rest all with a low cost Court Order by consent. Too bad the American legal culture of “lawyers for the stars”, know all too well how to play upon the egos of those with money. This one is not likely to end well.

  3. Georgialee:

    Your hopes that the case will eventually be amicably settled are reasonable and in any other instance, would be well-founded. But we’re not talking about “greedy lawyers” here, as your earlier commenter has opined. We are talking about Scientology.

    I have had some dealing with these peope in the past. They are bat-sh!t crazy, ruthless, intelligent and well-funded. They tried to infiltrate one of my intelligence units in the RCMP. They leave absolutely no stone unturned in efforts to thwart any perceived attack against their nut-bar “religion”.

    My friend Casey Hill, a former Crown prosecuter, sucessfully sued the “church” in Ontrario, and was awarded $1.6 million, which at the time was the largest court award in Canada for libel.

    There are news reports circulating that Katie Holmes is currently under surveillance by unknown armed men. My guess is that it is the Guardians, the enforcement arm of Scientology.

    I suspect that currently, Katie’s biggest concern is not custody, but whether or not she is going to be killed. And I don’t say that lightly.

  4. Bruce I recently read a book called “Inside Scientology” and it was frighteningly fascinating. The author wrote that Tom Cruise is either no. 1 or 2 in the organization and some of their activities border on criminal. You may be correct in your assessment, let’s wait and see. Cheers! Georgialee

  5. I guess we should start with the typical disclaimer, which is that I have no direct knowledge of the relationship and have not been retained in any capacity dealing with the divorce filing.

    Everyone is going to have something to say on this topic. However, my comments are based on my work experience, training and research as a professional within the field of Family Law and I support of the decision of Katie Holmes, to file for sole custody of Suri, in her divorce from Tom Cruise. Not typically my position

    This is because I believe, promote and agree with shared parenting. Allowing both parents to be involved in their child’s life as the standard policy, as being in the best interest of the children, absent, any special circumstances. Such as criminal history/behavior, drug/alcohol and other background issues, but I don’t agree with your position in this particular case.

    A retired law enforcement officer with approximately 24 years experience which included responding to and dealing with and enforcing Family Law court orders, related crime and now a Divorce Coach, the best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior, especially in Family Law.

    So it really was not a far reach for Katie Holmes, her family and her attorneys to come to the conclusion that if Holmes agreed to shared parenting that eventually if not immediately the result would be that she would have minimum to no contact with her daughter, Suri.

    This was the result for Nicole Kidman when she and Tom Cruise divorced and their two adopted children become the center to a very public, very nasty, high profile divorce played out in the press daily for a period of time some years back.

    Both sides made allegations of misconduct in the war for “custody” of Conner and Isabella. After the determination was made by either or both of them or the judge, I do not know the particulars, to share custody, Kidman eventually lost all contact with the children.

    According to articles I reviewed, Nicole Kidman had minimum to no contact with either of the children in the years following her divorce from Cruise and Kidman has not been photographed with either Conner or Isabella, who are now adults, separately or together since 2007 and little before that.

    Now before any one stands up and screams another man hater, let me say that if the position was reversed and Katie Holmes had previously been married and her former spouse had little to no contact with the children, I would take the same position in support of Tom Cruise.

    However, because by all appearances, Cruise has already demonstrated in a past relationship that he would not allow or support a relationship between Suri and her mother to exist. And that contact would not be easy, or frequent. Nor would he support an emotional bonding between the child and her mother, therefore custody should be awarded to Katie Holmes. And if the situation becomes reversed, than that should be taken into consideration for changing custody from Holmes to Cruise.

    There is no better way to ensure that BOTH parents support a relationship with the other parent after divorce than a change in custody if the relationship is not allowed, provided and supported.

    If Holmes is entrusted with the mandate and impedes or hampers that relationship, immediately, not after several years that scenario should be reversed and Cruise should be awarded custody. Something that I have seen work every time it is given as an ultimatum.

    I want to see parents falling all over themselves to show what they are willing to do to support that relationship with the other parent and care for the children, over what they can do take away/destroy that relationship. Which is the current method used and encouraged now, although unintentionally. It is however, the result.

    There are other predictors that resulted in my conclusion to support the decision by Katie Holmes to file for sole custody, which I have not addressed due to time and space some of which is on my website, CustodyCalculations.com

  6. If the reputation of Scientology is true, mere association with that organization, that in any way includes children, could be considered child abuse. The organization sues everyone, and has been aggressive in its defence over the years, which in itself seems reasonable evidence that it has a lot to hide. It seems entirely reasonable to the average person, to question the motives of anyone who operates in the upper echelons of that organization.

  7. You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. I hope for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  8. Excellent article!
    ‘custodycalculations and Freddie’ also made some very valid points – track records should not be disregarded and overly adversarial lawyers shut down. Personally I too and sick and tired of the damage I see them do in divorce cases.
    I really enjoy this blog! Thanks to Lawdiva and the commenting parties.

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