Katie Holmes

Bauer-Griffin; Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images; INFphoto.com; Fame Pictures

Now that we think about it, for a gal with a mansion in Beverly Hills that boasts the Beckhams as neighbors, Katie Holmes sure spent a lot of time in New York over the last couple years.

Is it possible that Holmes had something else in mind all that time besides proximity to the theater scene and great delis?

Aside from her prescient comments to Elle about "coming into her own," rumors are now swirling that her split from Tom Cruise was years in the making—and that she made sure to regularly touch down in New York expressly so that she could file divorce papers in the Big Apple.

Obviously she had her reasons, so...how can Holmes ensure that she gets divorced in New York, even if Cruise counterfiles in Los Angeles?

First of all, there's a two-year residency requirement to file for divorce in New York—meaning Holmes has to prove that she has physically been in the state for an adequate amount of time and intends to stay there after her split from Cruise is finalized. (The courts are OK with petitioners having residences in different states.)

So far so good: Holmes leased a unit in the luxurious Chelsea Mercantile building and is currently residing there with 6-year-old daughter Suri Cruise. But will it be enough?

"It's really a subjective test," New York divorce attorney Bettina Hindin tells E! News. "The court is going to look at all aspects of residency—length of time you have been here, child schooling, purchase of leasing or purchase of homes, places of worship, clubs, where you pay taxes, where your car is registered, where your cable bill is sent, etc."

"They don't want people who aren't here and don't intend to stay here to filling up the courts," explains Hindin. "You have to have real ties to New York. And it can't be for the sole purpose of obtaining matrimonial relief."

As for matrimonial relief, Holmes and Cruise have a prenuptial agreement that details what sort of payout Holmes is entitled to based on the circumstances surrounding the end of their marriage. But though the usual NYC divorce settlement is 50-50ish, the actual law is one of equitable distribution, unlike California's law that states a couple jointly own everything acquired during the course of their marriage.

That joint ownership extends to the kids, unlike in New York, where "either he gets her or she gets her, and the other person has access," Hindin says. "The [New York] court can't order two divorcing parents to coparent. If they can't do it like grownups here, the court will make a direction that either he gets custody or she gets custody, and the other one will have visitation."

Cruise has hired Dennis Wasser, who represented him when he divorced Nicole Kidman, and, according to his longtime legal rep, Bert Fields, is planning to file his own divorce paperwork. Fields wouldn't say whether the actor was going to file in California or request joint custody of Suri.

Hindin says that Cruise has several options if he objects to Holmes' desired New York jurisdiction: He can bring it up at their first hearing, which is scheduled for July 17. He can file a motion in NYC expressing his opposition. Or, he can file a motion in California to the same effect.

Seemingly gearing up for her side of the fight, Holmes visited her attorneys' office in Manhattan today.

And, going by the photographic evidence alone, the Don't Be Afraid of the Dark star has spent considerable time in New York during the past two years.

Holmes attended the red-carpet premiere of The Extra Man in the city on July 19, 2010, and was spotted at least a few times every month thereafter. Prior to that, lest we forget, she lived in Manhattan (in the $15 million brownstone she shared with Cruise) while making her Broadway debut in All My Sons in 2008.

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