Arizona residents have likely been following the explosive news of the divorce filing of Katie Holmes, the wife of Tom Cruise. According to reports, Holmes had been seeking sole custody of their only child together, a 6-year-old daughter.
Sole custody is very rarely granted and can only be awarded under exceptional, extreme or compelling circumstances, in which it is determined that joint custody is not in the best interests of the minor child. This means that one parent must be determined to be unfit to raise the child.
One of the possible reasons Holmes sought sole custody was due to Cruise's affiliation with the Church of Scientology. However, it is unlikely that a court would award sole custody just based on one's religion.
The only way that a court would interfere with a parent's freedom of religion would be if that religion in some way placed the child in danger, such as prohibiting a child from receiving medical treatment for a life threatening illness or injury. In that case, a court could conceivably step in to protect the best interests of the child.
Holmes and Cruise agreed to a settlement earlier this week. According to the terms of the settlement, the girl will live with her mother in New York and her father will have visitation rights.
Divorce is a daunting and highly emotional event in anyone's life. It is especially so when children are involved. It is extremely important for anyone considering divorce to fully inform themselves of all of the issues surrounding child custody, visitation, and child support before they proceed. The main thing to determine is what is in the best interests of the child when these matters are addressed.
Source: People, "Tom Cruise Divorce: Suri to Live Primarily with Katie Holmes," Mike Fleeman, July 9, 2012