updated 07/07/2012 AT 9:20 AM ET
•originally published 07/06/2012 AT 5:30 PM ET
Casually dressed in white jeans and a yellow top, the actress, 33, arrived with four bodyguards in a Mercedes with black-tinted windows about 11:30 a.m. at the midtown Manhattan building housing the offices of Aronson, Mayefsky and Sloan. Daughter Suri, 6, was not with her, observers say.
PEOPLE has learned that for the past few days, lawyers for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have been working to negotiate an agreement between the two stars to avoid a brutal public divorce battle. “Neither one of them wants this to be hashed out in public,” says a source.
Holmes’s visit comes after Cruise attorney Bert Fields spoke out to the BBC about the possible next steps for the 50-year-old superstar.
“Tactically we can’t say where Tom will file a divorce case and if he’ll be seeking joint custody of Suri,” said Fields.
The divorce case involves legal heavyweights on both coasts.
Holmes’s attorneys Allan Mayefsky and his partner Michael Mosberg work for the firm that represented Peter Cook in his bitter 2008 divorce from Christie Brinkley. Their co-counsel, Jonathan Wolfe of Skoloff & Wolfe in Livingston, N.J., has handled the divorces of football star Braylon Edwards and NHL player Martin Brodeur.
Fields is a longtime Cruise business lawyer in Los Angeles with a host of celebrity clients. The actor’s lead divorce lawyer, Dennis Wasser, is another prominent Hollywood attorney who represented Cruise in his divorce from Nicole Kidman.
Reporting by MABEL MARTINEZ and SYDNEY BERGER