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What those in Colorado can learn from the stars

Normally those of us in Colorado may want to limit their star gazing to the Milky Way, but occasionally we can learn important lessons from a different type of star gazing.

The pending divorce of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise can teach us all a few important lessons about divorce, child custody and prenuptial agreements. All three are playing out in public as the Hollywood couple of five years moves toward the dissolution of their marriage. What are the lessons?

The first may be the importance of a prenuptial agreement in a high-asset divorce. According to multiple sources, Holmes and Cruise had a prenup in which Holmes' would be granted just $3 million per year should they divorce. They have been married for five years so she should see about $15 million in the division of property. Without a prenup she would have been entitled to half of their $250 million estate.

The second issue is the jurisdiction of the divorce. The couple has multiple homes and properties in New York, California, England and Italy. Holmes asked for divorce in New York and has moved into a small apartment there. There was insider speculation that Cruise would seek to have the divorce settled in California because in New York there is a tendency to prefer one primary custodial parent. In Colorado, the tendency is to make decisions on the basis of whatever is in the best interest of the child or children.

The third issue is child custody. It's been reported that this may be a contentious issue. Holmes is reportedly looking for sole custody. There have been wide-spread reports that Cruise's belief in Scientology, and how that could impact their daughter's upbringing, may be a major factor.

The last issue is the division of property and support payments. The property division may be largely covered by the prenuptial agreement, as well as the lack of or inclusion of spousal support. The couple's daughter is young however, so there could be about 12 years of child support payments. Those could be significant as they are typically a portion of one's income. Both Cruise and Holmes reportedly have so-called high-powered attorneys.

Divorce can be a difficult time, particularly when it is played out in the public's eye. An experienced family law attorney can help make it less difficult.

Source: The Pueblo Chieftain, "Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: What's Next in Their Divorce," July 3, 2012

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