We know what you are thinking. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are getting a divorce. Who cares?
However, there is an important legal lesson to be learned from the divorce. TMZ reports that one of the main issues in the divorce is whether it should be processed in California or New York.
Now, most of us aren't bicoastal jet-setters with apartments in multiple cities, states, or continents. Perhaps, however, you have family in a neighboring state that you'll be staying with after you split from the marital home. Perhaps your family has a summer home. Whatever the case, it is important to consider the laws of all possible jurisdictions and choose wisely.
For example, in the TomKat case, Katie chose New York for a good reason: they hate joint legal custody. In California, joint decisions are favored because courts believe in such hippie-tastic concepts as co-parenting and cooperation. The crotchety cynics in New York believe, wisely or not, that bitter ex-spouses are incapable of making decisions together without putting their child in the middle of the battle.
Legal custody is the right to make major life decisions for the child, such as medical treatment and school enrollment.
For Katie, a favorable ruling in New York means she can keep her child out of the clutches of a Scientology Boot Camp on a boat.
For Tom, a transfer of the case to California means that Katie can't decide the child's religious education and preferences without consulting him first.
For the record, Illinois expresses no preference towards sole or joint legal custody. It is instead determined according to the best interests of the child.
- Consult an Illinois Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Katie Holmes, Scientology: Why The Actress Filed For Divorce From Tom Cruise (Huffington Post)
- What We Can Learn From Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches-Wade (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)
- What We Can Learn From Courtney Cox and David Arquette (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)