For a quick refresher, Sophie and Joe confirmed in a statement on Sept. 6 that they had “mutually decided” to “amicably end” their marriage after four years.
Joe was the one to file for divorce, and in the aftermath of the split, numerous outlets published reports that he’d primarily been looking after their two daughters: 3-year-old Willa, and a 14-month-old whose name has not been shared publicly.
For context, around the time of the split, Sophie was based in the UK filming a new TV series, Joan, while Joe was touring the US with his band, the Jonas Brothers.
“Joe has been taking care of the children pretty much all of the time over the last three months,” a TMZ article read at the time. “When it comes time to hash out a custody arrangement, he could ask for significantly more than 50% physical custody, and our sources say that's likely.”
Well, as their divorce continues to play out publicly, things escalated last week when it was reported that Sophie, who is from the UK, had filed a lawsuit against her ex, claiming the “wrongful retention” of their children from their “habitual” home in England since Sept. 20.
The petition — which was obtained by numerous outlets including Page Six and NBC — was apparently filed through the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention. This is a treaty that seeks to compel the swift return of children who have been “wrongfully removed or retained across international borders.”
According to the filings, Sophie agreed “with hesitation” to have their children temporarily travel with Joe on the Jonas Brothers tour because he would have more spare time in the day to care for them.
“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 documents reportedly state, making reference to Sophie’s work on Joan in the UK.
The petition further alleges that in late 2022, Joe and Sophie committed to making England their “forever home,” meaning that when her filming commitments were over, she’d come to New York and collect the children to take them home to the UK with her.
However, Sophie’s filing claims that she couldn’t do this, due to the fact that Joe is allegedly withholding the children’s passports so that they cannot return to England.
Shortly after Sophie’s lawsuit surfaced, Joe issued a response via a representative, who provided a lengthy statement to TMZ disputing the new accusations.
“After multiple conversations with Sophie, Joe initiated divorce proceedings in Florida, as Florida is the appropriate jurisdiction for the case,” the statement begins. “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.”
The statement outlines that Joe and Sophie apparently had “a cordial meeting” in New York on Sept. 17, when Sophie came to the city to be with the kids, who have stayed with her since.
“Joe’s impression of the meeting was that they had reached an understanding that they would work together toward an amicable coparenting setup,” the representative states, before claiming that 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,” the statement claims.
Sophie’s filing doesn’t outwardly accuse Joe of abduction, but it does reference the International Child Abduction Remedies Act.
“The children were not abducted,” his representative states. “After being in Joe's care for the past three months at the agreement of both parties, the children are currently with their mother.”
Well, just four days after Joe’s response, an interim consent order declares that Sophie and Joe must keep their daughters in the US for the time being.
Filed on Monday and subsequently obtained by People, the order states that the children must stay in the southern and eastern districts of New York, including New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.
The documents reveal that both Sophie and Joe have “agreed to the entry of the attached proposed Interim Consent Order.”
The filing also states that if the order is violated for any reason, the court reserves the right to take measures “to protect the wellbeing of the child involved or to prevent the child's further removal or concealment before the final disposition of the petition.”
Currently, it seems both Sophie or Joe are still in NYC. Neither have publicly addressed the order.