Katie Holmes' Down-Low Divorce

By Rachael Mason

It’s official! Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have finalized their divorce, less than two months after filing. That was quick and quiet. Even news outlets are marveling on the secrecy of the divorce more than the divorce itself. So, just how did Katie Holmes manage such a secretive divorce in the public spotlight?

Holmes reportedly used a disposable cell phone for conversations with her lawyers, according to the Los Angeles Times. She also made sure to spend time in New York City to meet the residency requirements for divorce cases filed in the state, though it wasn’t clear if this was part of her grand plan, reported E! News. Cruise was reportedly “shocked” about the sudden divorce and felt blindsided by Holmes.

Getting a secret divorce clearly worked out well for Holmes, but is this practice a good idea? If your relationship still bears any trace of amicability, then probably not. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse sit down together with your lawyers, you can probably come to terms that will be in the best interests of both parties (not to mention any children you may have).

But what if your spouse has been emotionally, physically, or financially abusive? In that case, it may be time to consider a secret divorce. So what’s the next step?

“Obviously, you’ll need a lawyer. But more importantly — and this is what Katie Holmes did so well — you’ll need to keep your plans to yourself,” says attorney Martin Sweet legal information website THELAW.TV.

A divorce lawyer will instruct you on how to secure financial accounts – joint checking, savings, and credit cards before filing. “If physical and/or emotional abuse is a factor, have a safe place to stay before the complaint is served,” says Sweet.

Keeping divorce proceedings under wraps might also be a good idea for high-profile couples, like athletes, actors, and musicians, who will want to avoid having every detail of their cases examined by the media.

While reporting on the Katie Holmes divorce, The Daily Telegraph of London spoke to Ayesha Vardag, described as ”Britain’s top divorce lawyer.” She suggested “the TomKat settlement could become a ‘gold standard’ for high-profile divorces, avoiding drawn-out battles before the press.”