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High net-worth divorce may spell image trouble for Tom Cruise

Massachusetts readers may be aware that yet another movie star marriage has hit the rocks, though this one appears to have hit with a thud. While Cruise marked his 50th birthday on July 3, Holmes has apparently been occupied with putting the finishing touches on her divorce paperwork, which was filed on June 28.

The meticulously chronicled union between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, cynically dubbed TomKat, has apparently come to an end. It was recently announced that Holmes has filed for divorce from Cruise, citing irreconcilable differences. In what surely will be a high net-worth divorce, the couple appears set to focus primarily on their 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

The paperwork for the divorce was filed in New York. Some observers have speculated that her choice of jurisdiction may indicate that she intends to seek sole custody of their daughter. It is predicted by many that New York will lend Holmes a greater child custody advantage than by filing in California -- another location where the couple owns residential property.

In a high net-worth divorce between any high-powered couple, whether in Massachusetts or elsewhere, one important element for each party is their public image. Each will likely want to protect their personal brand at the same time that they are negotiating over issues important to them both, most probably child custody issues.

Some believe that Cruise's brand could take a hit because media reports about his personal life and religious views may run counter to the nice-guy/hero image typically portrayed in his movie roles.

Meanwhile, Holmes may simply benefit from the rise in publicity. This could be particularly true if Cruise's Scientology views are raised during negotiations. In cases like this, particularly where public discretion is imperative, the right counsel can make all the difference.

Source: Boston.com, "Custody, images at stake in Cruise-Holmes divorce," Sandy Cohen, June 29, 2012

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