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Marriage Impossible: Cruise v. Holmes
July 11, 2012
First question I was asked at my dentist’s office yesterday: “How was the Tom Cruise case resolved so quickly?” It’s difficult to answer that question with dental tools in my mouth, so I’ll try here.
According to CNN, the entire matter was resolved in two weeks, which would be amazing. Especially since, according to TMZ, the custody provisions were “extremely detailed.” One can only surmise that the financial provisions could not have been simple.
While I have no insider knowledge of the circumstances, I can take a guess. On a couple of occasion where I have represented someone where publicity might occur, we have settled the case before it was filed. Lawyers were retained, financial information exchanged and negotiations concluded before any papers were ever filed.
In Wisconsin, this creates a risk due to the 120 “cooling off” period before a divorce can be final. The risk is that either side can change their mind and withdraw from the agreement during that period. However, to my knowledge, no such period is required under New Jersey law.
Such prefiling negotiations are worth the risk. It eliminates the distasteful public airing of dirty laundry in which both parties (and their attorneys) look bad. Most importantly, it protects their child from the harmful publicity.
I’m not sure that is what happened in the Cruise vs. Holmes but, if so, both parties (and their attorneys, including my friend Jonothan Wolfe) should be congratulated for handling the case in such a manner.
P.S. My friend, Michael, stopped me during my morning run yesterday to ask if I knew the name of the new Tom Cruise movie: “Marriage Impossible.”