Actress Sophie Turner has initiated a Hague Convention petition claiming her estranged husband, singer and actor Joe Jonas, ‘will not consent’ for their children to ‘return’ to England with her. Here’s a look at the details behind the case, plus we’ll take a look at other celebrities who have had high-stakes custody battles over the years.
After filing for divorce, Sophie Turner’s ex, Joe Jonas, is in a custody dispute over their two children: Willa, 3, and a 14-month-old daughter referred to as D. In her lawsuit, Turner alleges that Jonas is withholding their children’s passports, preventing them from joining her in England.
Best known for playing Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Turner said in her petition that the couple had planned to raise their daughters in her native country. It also said the girls “are both fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England”.
Sophie Turner filed her petition under the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention.
What is the Hague Convention?
International family law can be complex and challenging, especially concerning child custody disputes. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, aka the Hague Convention, is an international treaty that protects children from parental abduction across international borders.
The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980 Hague Convention) is a multilateral treaty that establishes proceedings for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or kept away from their home country. Currently, there are 101 Contracting States to the Hague Convention. Including the United States and the United Kingdom.
How Did They Get Here?
When Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas met through mutual friends in 2016, they kept most of their relationship out of the private eye. But things started to change after Joe proposed just one year after their relationship began. The couple went on to tie the knot at an epic wedding in Las Vegas in 2019, with a second wedding in France. In 2020, the introduced their first child to the family unit, and a second in 2022. But just a year later and four years after saying “I do”, they decided to go their separate ways.
Earlier this week, Turner was photographed having dinner with pop star Taylor Swift – who dated Jonas in 2008. Online gossip blogs were in overdrive as photos of the two, walking along arm-in-arm, went viral.
Despite calling the split “amicable”, Jonas, 34, filed for divorce in a Florida court on September 1, but according to Turner, 27, she only learned about the divorce through the media five days later. Jonas has disputed this saying he did not surprise Turner with divorce papers but rather filed for divorce after what he said were “multiple conversations with Sophie”.
Wherever the truth lies in who initiated the divorce and how, the focus remains on their children and where they will reside.
The plan was for Turner to travel to New York after filming wrapped on September 14 to collect the children, but in the meantime “the breakdown of the parties’ marriage happened very suddenly,” Turner said. Turner says she and Jonas saw each other on September 17 — and she asked him for the children’s passports so she could take them back to England.
But Jonas refused to turn over the girls’ passports, who were born in the US, and have dual US-British citizenship. Turner then filed her petition, now public, which Masters Law Group has revised, in federal court in New York under the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention — an international treaty aimed at compelling the return of a child taken from their country of “habitual residence.”
The Turner/Jonas Hague Convention Case
The court filing says the girls are temporarily living with Turner in a Manhattan hotel.
Joe Jonas has released a statement in response to Turner’s lawsuit. The statement mentioned that the former couple had a “cordial” meeting in New York, during which they discussed working together for an amicable co-parenting arrangement. However, hours later, Turner expressed her desire to permanently take the children to the UK. The statement read, “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.” This has been reported by PEOPLE.
Sophie Turner claims that she and Joe Jonas agreed during discussions on Christmas in 2022 to make England their “forever home.” According to the documents, they sold their Miami home and were in the process of buying a new residence in the English countryside in April.
“The children were born in the US and have spent the vast majority of their lives in the US. They are American citizens,” the spokesperson said.
They added that Jonas wished for Turner to “reconsider her harsh legal position and move forward in a more constructive and private manner” and that “his only concern is the well-being of his children.”
Jonas has also denied Turner’s claims in the court documents that she found out about the divorce from media reports – saying she was aware in advance.
Celebrities & Child Custody/Parental Responsibilities Cases
Unfortunately, Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas aren’t the first Hollywood couple to face divorce cases involving parental responsibilities (formerly Child Custody) disputes.
Celebrities who have been involved in high-profile child custody battles in the past, include:
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: This Hollywood power couple had a highly publicized custody battle following their divorce in 2016. They reached a temporary agreement, and the case has seen various developments since then and still ongoing.
- Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry: Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry had a contentious custody battle over their daughter, Nahla, following their separation.
- Usher and Tameka Foster: Singer Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Foster were involved in a custody battle over their two children, which resulted in Usher gaining primary custody.
- Kelly Rutherford and Daniel Giersch: The “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford had a prolonged custody battle with her ex-husband Daniel Giersch over their two children, involving international custody issues.
- Britney Spears and Kevin Federline: Pop star Britney Spears and her ex-husband Kevin Federline had a custody dispute over their two sons after their divorce.
- Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger: Actor Alec Baldwin and actress Kim Basinger had a highly publicized custody battle over their daughter, Ireland, which lasted for several years.
- Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards: Actor Charlie Sheen and his ex-wife Denise Richards were involved in a custody dispute over their two daughters.
- Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva: Actor Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva had a custody battle over their daughter after their tumultuous relationship ended.
Legal Assistance & Representation
It’s not just celebrities like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas who are involved in international child abduction cases. If you are facing a similar legal battle, seeking the assistance of an attorney experienced in the Hague Convention can help you understand your legal options and how to take immediate action.
These attorneys possess the necessary knowledge and experience to guide parents through the legal process and protect their rights. If you have concerns about custody of your child and where they will reside, it is crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard their well-being. Your attorney may recommend several preventative measures, such as:
- Obtaining a custody order or parenting plan that clearly outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities, including travel restrictions.
- Adding your child’s name to a watchlist to prevent unauthorized removal from the country.
- Obtaining a court order requires surrendering your child’s passport or imposing restrictions on international travel.
- Collaborating with your child’s school or daycare to establish security measures and emergency protocols.
As for Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas, the case continues. Read the “Verified petition for return of children to England” here.
Stay Up to Date with Masters Law Group
Senior attorneys Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in Hague Convention cases involving international child custody disputes in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.
We will be following the Jonas/Turner case closely to bring up to date information as it unfolds.
To learn more about Hague Convention cases, here are some important recent Hague decisions we have successfully handled:
- Efthymiou v. Labonte, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
- Sulcaite, Memorandum Opinion, and Order
- Ho, Memorandum Opinion and Order
- Hinnendael, Decision, and Order
Contact us today to learn more.