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Cruise and Holmes settle divorce differences in only 11 days

Celebrity divorces are usually a bit messier and longer than the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes case, which lasted less than two weeks. This is especially true when child custody is at issue. As the Holmes-Cruise divorce demonstrates, however, personal differences over even highly-charged issues such as child custody or religious belief do not have to stand in the way of a prompt, out-of-court solution when both spouses are committed to reaching that goal.

For readers in Tennessee and elsewhere who missed the story, Holmes surprised both Cruise and the entertainment world by filing for divorce on June 28. Her petition asked the court to award her custody of the couple's 6-year-old daughter along with an appropriate amount of child support, and reportedly little else.

Sources say the couple signed a prenuptial agreement signed prior to their 2006 marriage ceremony that stipulated what Cruise would pay Holmes and how property would be divided in the event of a divorce.

This past weekend, with the ink on Holmes' divorce petition still wet, the two sides and their respective lawyers reached the agreement announced yesterday.

Indications are that Holmes will be granted primary child custody and control decisions about the girl's education, which can include religious training. Cruise, meanwhile, will have visitation rights and should still be able to teach his daughter about Scientology (his own religious faith) while she is under his care, according to experts on "spiritual custody" issues.

What's truly remarkable about this case is how quickly the two sides were able to come to an agreement. This was due in part, no doubt, to the prenuptial agreement which addressed the issues of property division and spousal support in advance. We also have to presume, based on our own experience, that both Holmes and Cruise were highly committed to making the split as painless as possible for their daughter and themselves --and that they were both well-represented by their respective attorneys.

And who can argue with the end result -- a quick, dignified, private and fairly inexpensive solution that provided both parties with maximum control over the terms of the divorce.

Source: Newsday, "Tom Cruise divorce agreement gives Katie Holmes primary custody," July 10, 2012

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