July 7, 2012 at 11:20 PM ET
Could Katie Holmes' trip to her attorneys' office Friday signal movement in her divorce case against Tom Cruise, even before their scheduled July 17 courtroom showdown?
Since announcing news of their split, the superstar ex-couple appear to be trying to keep details of their divorce out of the public eye.
If reports are true that Cruise and Holmes are working towards a settlement, Cruise may come out more satisfied, according to Steven Stolar, a family law specialist with Stolar &Associates who has no connection to the case.
"If she has any info that could hurt him publicly, he has more to gain from reaching a settlement," Stolar tells E! News. "She may get a little more out of a settlement than she would in a courtroom, but that's [possibly] worth it to Cruise."
Stolar says most high-profile divorces end up being settled out of court.
"High-profile entertainers don't want their personal stuff being thrown out there in the courtroom and ending up on Twitter," Stolar says. "They want to keep it as under control as possible."
But in courtrooms, parties cannot be prosecuted for anything they reveal about the marriage.
"Whether it's Scientology-related or anything else, she can reveal it in court," Stolar says. "No court will penalize her." The same holds for anything Tom might say about Katie in court. Which is why Stolar says it's rare that a couple as high-profile as this will actually head to court.
News of the couple's possible settlement comes just a few days after Cruise's lawyer told the BBC the "Rock of Ages" star is planning to file for divorce, but is letting Holmes "play the media" before making any moves."
"Tactically we can't say where Tom will file a divorce case and if he'll be seeking joint custody of (6-year-old daughter) Suri," Bert Fields told the network. "We are letting 'the other side play the media until they wear everyone out, and then we'll have something to say."
While Holmes, 33, is seeking sole custody of Suri in the divorce, speculation is mounting that Cruise may file a counter divorce case in California and demand joint custody.
Neither star's representatives have responded to requests for comment Saturday.
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