As attorneys for the actress and Tom Cruise gear up for one of the biggest divorces in showbiz history, there’s been much speculation in the media about how big a part Scientology played in their marriage and subsequent demise and how it will be used in proceedings.
Top Los Angeles divorce lawyer Grace Jamra tells RadarOnline.com that it would simply be “unconstitutional” for a judge to involve him or herself in issues pertaining to Suri‘s religious upbringing.
“If there are tenets in the religion that spell out certain ways to raise a child and Katie doesn’t feel that’s working for Suri, maybe because she’s acting out a lot, or not doing well in school, or has developmental issues, then that would be what she uses – the litmus test would be what is in the best interest of the child.
“Katie doesn’t really need to use Scientology as the basis or reasoning to get sole custody.”
New York-based family law attorney Bernard Clair concurred, telling us a judge would not consider Tom’s religion and its practices as reason enough to grant Katie full decision-making power over their daughter.
“I am hopeful that a judge would not give too much credence to the fact that someone is a member of a particular religion or particular thought-based organization,” Clair said. “It’s only relevant if it impacts the decision making of the parents.
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“If any parent’s religion impacts on that parent’s ability to act in the child’s best interest, then that’s going to be a factor for consideration. But in and of itself, how someone practices religion, should not matter. It is only down to whether a parent interacts with the child positively or negatively. If the religion of the parents causes it to be negative then that needs to be looked at.
“Just the fact that Tom is a Scientologist should not matter,” he adds.
“If I were Katie’s lawyer, I wouldn’t use religion as a factor but if she has particular examples of practices that she may believe to be detrimental to Suri’s wellbeing that Tom uses then I would highlight those before the judge rather than specifically using Scientology.
“The religion itself is of no importance until you can draw a nexus between a person’s conduct that they say derives from the religion and then the secondary nexus, the more important one that such practice is in some way detrimental to the child or not in her best interest.”
The Daily Beast reports that although Katie converted to Scientology in 2005 before she tied the knot with Tom, she hasn’t been seen inside a Scientology Church for quite a while and even enrolled Suri in a Catholic pre-school a few years ago