By LOUISE BOYLE
Dream wedding: The pair married in an Italian castle in 2006 and filed their marriage certificate in California
The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will not be recognized by Scientology, according to the church's doctrines.
The religion offers little advice to those for whom divorce has become the only option, preferring to focus on providing couple's therapy to fix relationships.
Katie, 33, filed divorce papers from 49-year-old Cruise on Thursday after it was reported that she had been unhappy in the marriage for years. The former Dawson's Creek actress was seeking sole custody of the couple's six-year-old daughter Suri, in what is expected to become a bitter legal battle.
There is a belief in the church of Scientology that marital problems come from 'withholds' or 'overts' - undiscussed issues or problems.
According to the official website, marriage is considered essential to family life along with the belief that the religion will strengthen bonds between partners.
Support act: The church offers courses and advice to couple's with marital problems
Scientologists also claim that people who follow the religion are more likely to stay married.
If a couple runs into a problem, they can take courses on how to improve their marriage or speak to counselors.
However Stephen Kent, a religion professor at the University of Alberta, told ABC: 'There's no real annulment in the church. Many members have been divorced, even founder L. Ron Hubbard was married three times.'
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were married in November 2006 in a fairy-tale, A-list wedding at a 15th century Italian castle before a church of Scientology minister.
Church-goers: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on their way to the Scientology Celebrity Center in Los Angeles when they were first married
When the romance began – Katie had met Tom to discuss the possibility of appearing in Mission Impossible III – she was immediately sent on an intensive and lengthy study course about Scientology, the religion founded by sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard in 1954, which holds that humans are descended from an exiled race of aliens called Thetans.
Although Holmes was raised a Catholic, she embraced the religion of her new husband at the start of their relationship. However she is alleged to have come to dislike and distrust the movement.
The church of Scientology bans members from having contact with doubters of the faith or unbelievers called PTS - potential trouble source.
Pawn: The couple's six-year-old daughter has been caught in the middle of what is likely to become a bitter divorce battle as Holmes fights for sole custody
A difference of religious viewpoints can lead some Scientology members to divorce.
Holmes, 33, is believed to have blind-sided her Mission Impossible star husband by initiating divorce proceedings.
The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes looks set to become a bitter custody battle for their six-year-old child Suri.
With a financial pre-nuptial already in place, it is thought that Holmes purposefully filed for divorce in New York state and not California because New York dislikes giving warring parents joint custody.
With sole custody of Suri, Holmes would be able to remove her daughter from the Church of Scientology despite her husband's enthusiasm for it.
The estranged couple have been raising Suri in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of Scientology - treating her as an adult, free to make her own decisions.
Skeptic: Katie Holmes is said to dislike and distrust Scientology - of which her estranged husband is a vocal advocate - and no longer wants their daughter to be raised in accordance with its doctrines
Hollywood superstar Cruise said he was ‘deeply saddened’ that his younger wife had filed for a separation and was concentrating on his three children. Cruise has two adopted children Conor and Isabella with ex-wife Nicole Kidman.
Cruise revealed that Katie had initiated the split, bringing a dramatic end to one of Hollywood's most high-profile - if bizarre - romances.
'This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family,' Holmes's lawyer Jonathan Wolfe said in a statement to People magazine.
'Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest.' Cruise, who is the main breadwinner of the couple's $275 million fortune, has been married twice before.
He was married to actress turned professional poker player Mimi Rogers - who is believed to have introduced him to Scientology - followed by Nicole Kidman.
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