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Celebrity Divorce: When Religion is an Issue

Although Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are major celebrities who went through a very public divorce, many of the issues they dealt with are common to average Atlanta area couples who decide to part ways. These include division of property, child custody and issues relating to how their child will be raised.

A prenuptial agreement between Cruise and Holmes covered how assets would be divided between them. Reportedly, the major issues discussed in settlement negotiations related to the custody and upbringing of the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Suri. Considering that Cruise is a prominent follower of the Church of Scientology and Holmes was raised Roman Catholic, the religious upbringing of Suri was suspected by many to be a point of contention.

Although neither Cruise nor Holmes have confirmed anything publicly, the Los Angeles Times reported that Holmes was awarded primary custody of Suri while Cruise was given visitation rights. Although Holmes will take the lead in raising and educating Suri, Cruise will still have a right to introduce her to Scientology if he chooses.

Experts in disputes about the spiritual upbringing of children say courts usually grant parents a significant amount of leeway in choosing the religious upbringing of their child. Unless a religion is found to expose a child to substantial harm or turn the child against the parent who is not a follower of the faith, courts are reluctant to intervene.

If Cruise wants to teach his daughter about the Church of Scientology while she is in his care, he will therefore have the legal right to do so. Of course, Holmes can also introduce Suri to Catholicism.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, Cruise-Holmes divorce: Scientology still possible for Suri, Richard Winton, John Horn and Harriet Ryan, July 10, 2012.

•· Our firm represents many different types of divorce clients. Follow the link to visit our celebrity divorce page.

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