Actress Sophie Turner filed suit in federal court asking a judge to grant a petition seeking the return of her “wrongfully retained” children to England amid a high-profile divorce from The Jonas Brothers star Joe Jonas.
After Jonas filed for divorce in Florida earlier in September after four years of marriage, both he and Turner posted statements calling the end of the marriage amicable and the decision mutual.
The stars also asked for privacy, both for themselves and their two daughters.
On Thursday, Sophie Turner filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that her daughters have been wrongfully retained by Jonas since Sept. 20.
Citing the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), located under 22 U.S. Code § 9001, Turner sought the return of children to England and also asked a judge to award her “reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees and expenses, including but not limited to suit money, expenses, and costs” arising from the litigation.
Turner said the in the months before the marriage fell apart, both she and Joe Jonas had discussions about raising their children in England and that they shopped for real estate in search of their “forever home.”
“During their time in England over Christmas 2022, the Mother and Father jointly decided that they would look for their ‘forever home’ in England, select a school for their older daughter in England, and settle their family in England,” the petition said. “The parties agreed that the timing was right for the family to settle permanently in England, particularly given the older child’s age. The parties were both excited for the family’s move to England.”
By the summer of 2023, Turner continued, both she and Jonas found the English countryside home they had dreamed of.
“The parties found a beautiful country property in Henley on Thames, England, and both agreed they would purchase the property for the family’s permanent home,” the filing detailed. “The property is located at Little Stoke House, Little Stoke, Wallingford, Oxford, England. The parties’ shared plan was to purchase the property together and raise their children together in the beautiful home and English country surroundings. Both parties were excited about the move for their family. The parties exchanged contracts with the sellers to purchase the property on July 7, 2023, with the completion date scheduled for December 2, 2023.”
Just one month later, their marriage was hanging in the balance.
“Thereafter, the breakdown of the parties’ marriage happened very suddenly. The parties had an argument on August 15, 2023. On or about September 1, 2023, the Father filed a divorce case against the Mother in Florida,” the petition said. On or about September 5, 2023, the Mother found out through the media that the Father had filed for divorce.”
Much of the filing was spent recounting the timeline of an apparent pre-divorce plan for Turner and Jonas to put their Miami home on the market in April and relocate to England.
Turner said that her daughters’ belongings were shipped a month earlier to England to be kept in storage until the then-couple settled on a house.
Describing the daughters as “both fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England,” Turner asserted that Jonas is in “breach of the Mother’s rights of custody under English law” since England is her daughters’ “habitual residence” and has been so since April 10.
Sophie Turner alleged that during a Sept. 17 meeting to discuss the couple’s separation she “reiterated the parties’ agreed plan for the children to return home to England that week,” after Turner returned to New York from filming a series in England:
When the Father is on tour, although his evenings are busy performing, he has periods of the day to spend time with the children. With some hesitation, the parties planned and agreed that it would be best for the children to travel with the Father and the family’s nanny to the United States for the month of August, with the Mother travelling to meet the family in the United States in September 2023. The children would then at least be able to spend some time during the day with one of their parents until the Mother finished her filming commitments.
The parties agreed that the children moving around with the Father on tour was only going to be a temporary arrangement.
The parties’ agreed plan was that when the Mother finished filming on September 14, 2023, she would travel to New York to collect the children and return home to England. The parties’ plan was for the Mother to spend a week with the family in New York, and then to return home to England with the children on September 20, 2023, where the Mother has a short work commitment on September 28, 2023.
Turner’s petition, calling it incorrect that the children “resided in Florida for the six months prior to the filing of the Father’s Florida case,” claimed that Joe Jonas has refused to return their daughters’ passports to her and return the children to England:
On September 19, 2023, the Florida attorney confirmed that the Father will not return the passports to the Mother and will not consent for the children to return home to England.
Based on the Father’s express statements that he will not return the children to England and will not return the children’s passports to the Mother, on September 20, 2023, the Mother has submitted her Hague Convention Application for Return to the Central Authority for England & Wales seeking the return of the children to England.
Turner said she would also be filing a “child arrangements case” in England.
When Law&Crime reached out to a representative for Joe Jonas for comment, we received the following lengthy statement in response:
After multiple conversations with Sophie, Joe initiated divorce proceedings in Florida, as Florida is the appropriate jurisdiction for the case. Sophie was aware that Joe was going to file for divorce. The Florida Court has already entered an order that restricts both parents from relocating the children. Sophie was served with this order on September 6, 2023, more than two weeks ago.
Joe and Sophie had a cordial meeting this past Sunday in New York, when Sophie came to New York to be with the kids. They have been with her since that meeting. Joe’s impression of the meeting was that they had reached an understanding that they would work together towards an amicable co-parenting setup.
Less than 24 hours later, Sophie advised that she wanted to take the children permanently to the UK. Thereafter, she demanded via this filing that Joe hand over the children’s passports so that she could take them out of the country immediately. If he complies, Joe will be in violation of the Florida Court order.
Joe is seeking shared parenting with the kids so that they are raised by both their mother and father, and is of course also okay with the kids being raised both in the U.S. and the UK. The children were born in the U.S. and have spent the vast majority of their lives in the U.S. They are American citizens.
This is an unfortunate legal disagreement about a marriage that is sadly ending. When language like “abduction” is used, it is misleading at best, and a serious abuse of the legal system at worst. The children were not abducted. After being in Joe’s care for the past three months at the agreement of both parties, the children are currently with their mother. Sophie is making this claim only to move the divorce proceedings to the UK and to remove the children from the U.S. permanently.
Joe has already disavowed any and all statements purportedly made on his behalf that were disparaging of Sophie. They were made without his approval and are not consistent with his views. His wish is that Sophie reconsider her harsh legal position and move forward in a more constructive and private manner. His only concern is the well-being of his children.
Read the “Verified petition for return of children to England” here.
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