Lawyers: Tom Cruise’s stealth divorce strategy makes him look like the good guy

Tom Cruise has been noticeably quiet since his soon-to-be ex-wife, Katie Holmes, shocked the world by filing for divorce and for sole custody of their daughter Suri, 6, in New York 10 days ago. His rep released a statement that the A-list actor was “saddened” by the news, but other than that, Camp Cruise has remained on the down low while stories continue to surface about their marriage, Scientology, and what went on behind closed doors.

Indeed, it appears zipped lips are going to be part of Cruise’s divorce strategy for at least the next little while.

“Tactically we can’t say where Tom will file a divorce case and if he’ll be seeking joint custody of Suri,” his powerhouse attorney, Bert Fields, reportedly told the BBC last week. “We are letting ‘the other side’ (Holmes team), play the media until they wear everyone out and then we’ll have something to say. It’s not Tom’s style to do this publicly. He is really sad about what’s happening.”

According to several lawyers, Cruise’s “keep quiet” rule-of-thumb, even amid the wealth of rumors and reports that have been coming out, is likely to work in his favor when it comes to the courts.


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“He absolutely does look like the good guy, the reasonable parent and by far the most reasonable participant in the divorce. This is absolutely the best move. Anything that Tom or his lawyers say can be used in any pleadings that Ms. Holmes files. The last thing Cruise or his lawyers will do, is give Ms. Holmes any ammunition,” Mike Kelly, a leading California-based matrimonial attorney, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “A frontal attack like this on Scientology is a bad idea and Tom Cruise will do something this coming week – it will be measured, not impulsive, and designed to have him enter the divorce jurisdiction with the most accurate move.”

Kelly also advised what has been mulled in the media since Holmes’s filing, and that is for Cruise to file in California, make a motion to change jurisdiction, and take the position that New York is not a proper venue for the case.

Litigator Anahita Sedaghatfar concurred that Cruise’s strategy for keeping quiet was in his best interests.

“Tom has way more to lose than Katie if dirty laundry is aired and private facts are revealed. We all know the stigma and controversy surrounding the Church of Scientology, and the fact that Tom is public and a devout Scientologist does not play out well for him,” she said. “Every move Katie has made thus far makes it clear that this may be one of the ugliest, most contentious celebrity divorces we have seen yet.”

However, it has been stressed that Holmes cannot use the controversial religion as an argument for successfully obtaining sole custody of Suri.

“Scientology absolutely cannot be used to get custody, it is a very bad move,” Kelly continued. “Scientology has been designated as a religion, and her attacking religious beliefs and tenets would be considered impulsive and ill-thought out. It will not work.”

But on the flipside, New York-based celebrity divorce attorney, Lubov Stark, noted that depending on what Holmes is able to present as evidence with regards to her custody case, the mysterious religious organization could potentially be made part of her custody case.

“Scientology is not mainstream while Katie's religion (reportedly Catholic) is; therefore there will be a greater scrutiny of Tom’s religious practices and its impact on the child. When determining issues of custody, a judge looks at many factors,” she added. “Tom seems to be the good guy here from a legal perspective since he was upfront with his religion and intent, Katie changed her mind – why is the key question in this case. Was it based on Suri's safety, or a strategy all along?”

Attorneys for Cruise and Holmes did not respond to a request for comment.