A lawsuit filed Thursday by Sophie Turner reveals the high-stakes, transatlantic custody battle brewing between the British actor and her estranged American husband Joe Jonas, since the sudden breakdown of their marriage and over his alleged refusal to let their young daughters return with her to the UK, where she said they had agreed the girls would be raised.
The British actor invokes 1980 The Hague Convention on “on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” to allege that the musician has “wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained” their daughters, 3 and 1, in the United States.
In Turner’s lawsuit, filed in US District Court in the Southern District of New York, the “Game of Thrones” star describes herself as the girls’ primary “day-to-day” caregiver. After she said the couple led a peripatetic lifestyle for much of their four-year marriage, she said she and Jonas settled in her native England in April and were purchasing a country estate near Oxford, which they planned to make their “forever” home.
Turner also said that the breakdown of their marriage was sudden, centered around a fight on Aug. 15. At the time, Turner said she was working on a TV series in the UK, while the girls were with their father in the United States, where he was touring with his band. Following this fight, Turner said, she learned through the media that Jonas had filed for divorce.
Up until the breakdown of their marriage, Turner said the plan was for to fly to New York on Sept. 14, during a break in her filming schedule. There, the family would spend a week together and then she would take the children back to England. The plan was for her to leave New York on Wednesday.
But Jonas is preventing that, Turner’s lawsuit says. When Turner and Jonas met over the weekend to discuss their separation, she said Jonas refused to return the children’s passports. “He refuses to send the children home to England with the mother,” the lawsuit says.
When news broke in late August that Turner and Jonas were divorcing, Turner’s fans had expected that a bitter custody battle could erupt over whether the children would live in the United States or in the UK. In certain ways, Jonas appeared to set the stage himself, with sources close to him anonymously leaking to entertainment sites the idea that he had been left to care for the children, “pretty much all the time” for the past three months — even has he was touring with his brothers in the United States.
These anonymous leaks also mentioned that Turner liked to “party” while he was more of a homebody, or they suggested that she missed having a care-free adolescence because she spent her teen years working on “Game of Thrones,” then married and became a mother by age 27. Turner’s fans expressed concerns about this attempt to portray her as some kind of “absentee” mother.
In an interview last year, Turner talked about how she missed England and was “slowly dragging” her American husband to move there.” But in her lawsuit, Turner suggested that Jonas didn’t seem to need much convincing to make England their permanent home.
While visiting Turner’s childhood home in the Midlands over the Christmas holidays in 2022, she said that she and Jonas jointly decided that they would look for their “forever home” in England. They also would select a school for their older daughter and settle their family in England. In furtherance of this plan, Turner’s lawsuit said, they put their Miami property up for sale in April and moved into a rental house near Turner’s parents home.
Since then, the girls have become “fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England,” the lawsuit says. They participate in playdates and extracurricular activities, including participating in productions at a local theater company, where Turner got her early acting experience. The older girl also attends a nursery school there.
And contrary to the depiction of Turner as an absentee mother, the lawsuit says that she “is fully involved in all of the children’s schooling, medical care, dental care, cultural activities, extracurricular activities, and other activities in England. The Mother provides all of the children’s day-to-day care in England.”
Meanwhile, as Jonas has had the children in the United States, he still needed to spend all his evenings performing, so that girls have been in the care of a nanny, though he’s had time during the day to spend with the children. the lawsuit says. It was “with some hesitation” that Turner agreed it would be best for Jonas to have the children in the United States, while she stayed in the UK.
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