Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes deep in behind-the-scene settlement talks: report

 NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19:  Actors Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise attend the "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" U.S. premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 19, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Experts say Katie Holmes has made a smart move in filing for divorce in the Empire State because New York judges are less likely to grant joint custody without the prior agreement of the parents.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes aren’t rushing to battle out their divorce in court.

Lawyers for the estranged couple are reportedly in talks to hammer out a divorce settlement that covers child custody, child support, visitation and property settlement, a source told TMZ.

It appears that if negotiations go well, the case will not go before a judge and may be settled in New York, where Holmes initially filed for divorce.

The 33-year-old announced she was pulling the plug on their five-year marriage late last month, a move that left Cruise “deeply saddened,” his rep said in a statement.

KATIE HOLMES STEPS OUT SMILING IN PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE FILING FOR DIVORCE FROM TOM CRUISE

The former “Dawson’s Creek” star is reportedly seeking sole legal custody of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Suri, with sources saying that intense disagreements over the star spawn was the catalyst for the breakup.

Katie Holmes

James Devaney/WireImage

Holmes and daughter Suri visit Children’s Museum of the Arts New York City just days after the former « Dawson’s Creek » star announced the split.

KATIE HOLMES ENTERS ‘NEW PHASE’ AS TOM CRUISE INSISTS SCIENTOLOGY WAS NOT AT ROOT OF SPLIT: REPORT

Holmes allegedly feared that Cruise was planning to drag Suri farther into Scientology as she got older.

Sole legal custody would give Holmes complete control over decisions regarding Suri’s education and religion.

Holmes has enlisted New Jersey-based prenup specialist Jonathan Wolfe, as well as Michael Mosberg at Sheresky Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan, the Manhattan based firm that repped Christie Brinkley’s ex-husband Peter Cook.

Experts say Holmes has made a smart move in filing for divorce in the Empire State because New York judges are less likely to grant joint custody without the prior agreement of the parents.

“In fact, it’s cases like this that make the courts here remember why they don’t like joint custody; it’s just unworkable in too many instances,” Eleanor Alter, a lawyer for Mia Farrow and Brinkley, told The Daily Beast.

LARGE-TOM-CRUISE

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Cruise’s legal team may argue that the couple’s divorce case belongs in California, according to TMZ.

New York judges may also be less accepting of Cruise’s ties to Scientology.

The “Mission Impossible” star has tapped powerhouse divorce lawyer Dennis Wasser, who handled his breakup from former wife Nicole Kidman, and entertainment lawyer Bert Fields.

Fields told BBC that he could not confirm whether the 50-year-old would be filing a counter divorce case in Los Angeles.

TOM CRUISE, KATIE HOLMES TO DIVORCE

“We are letting the other side play the media until they wear everyone out and then we’ll have something to say, » Fields said.

“It’s not Tom’s style to do this publicly. He is really sad about what’s happening. »

croberts@nydailynews.com

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