Actor Sophie Turner has sued pop star Joe Jonas for the return of their two young children to England, saying in the filing that Jonas will not turn over the children's passports.
The celebrity pair announced their split this month after four years of marriage.
The court documents, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for Southern New York, said the couple’s children, born in 2020 and 2022, have been wrongfully kept in New York City since Wednesday from “their habitual residence” in England.
The petition says Turner, the "Game of Thrones" star, and Jonas, the Jonas Brothers singer, made England their permanent home in April after much discussion because they wanted their children to attend school there.
They moved into a rental on a long-term basis in May and entered contracts to buy a home in July, with a plan to move there in December, the filing says.
But the couple's relationship was apparently strained by complicated travel arrangements over the summer.
They decided that as Turner started filming a new drama series in the U.K. in May, the children would travel with Jonas and a nanny as he kicked off his tour with the Jonas Brothers in the U.S. in late July, according to the petition.
The plan, the petition says, was for the children to stay with Jonas and his extended family until Turner finished filming and she would travel to New York in mid-September and return to the U.K. with the kids.
Then came the divorce.
The petition said that the couple had an argument Aug. 15 — Jonas' birthday — and that "on or about Sept. 1" Jonas filed for divorce in Florida. Turner did not learn about the divorce filing until Sept. 5 through the media, the petition says.
The petition says Jonas’ divorce filings incorrectly claimed the children had lived in Florida for six months before the divorce filing.
Turner and Jonas met Sunday to discuss their separation, and Turner reiterated their agreement for the children to return to England that week, it says.
The petition says Jonas had the children's passports — but refused to hand them over and send them with Turner back to England.
The petition was filed after Jonas allegedly refused to let the children go with their mother, which " is a breach of the Mother’s rights of custody under English law, England being the children’s habitual residence."
The petition says the children, who have dual citizenship, are “fully involved and integrated” in daily life in England with the older child attending school and both involved in playdates and cultural activities.
Turner has requested the return of her children to England and has submitted her application for return with the Central Authority for England and Wales, and she says she “never consented or acquiesced to the removal of the children from England,” the court documents says.
The children are with Turner in New York, the filing says.
The petition was filed through the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention — an international treaty adopted by more than 100 countries, including the U.S. — which aims to compel the return of children taken by a parent from their countries of “habitual residence.”
A representative for Jonas said in a statement provided to NBC News on Thursday that it is Jonas' "wish" that Turner "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,” the statement said.
The statement also disputed Turner's claim that she was unaware that Jonas was filing for divorce. The statement said that the Florida court where the divorce paperwork was filed "restricts both parents from relocating the children" and that Turner was aware of that order.
Turner and Jonas had a “cordial” meeting Sunday in New York when she flew there to be with the kids, the representative said.
“Joe’s impression of the meeting was that they had reached an understanding that they would work together towards an amicable co-parenting setup,” the statement said.
“Less than 24 hours later, Sophie advised that she wanted to take the children permanently to the UK," the statement continued. "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."
The statement said Jonas seeks shared parenting with the kids and “is of course also okay with the kids being raised both in the U.S. and the U.K.”
The statement condemned the use of language like "abduction" calling it "misleading at best, and a serious abuse of the legal system at worst."
"The children were not abducted,” the statement said. “Sophie is making this claim only to move the divorce proceedings to the U.K. and to remove the children from the U.S. permanently.”
The Hague Convention child abduction clause is mostly enforced against mothers, rather than fathers, making Turner’s petition against Jonas notable.
In Hague cases filed in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, mothers made up 73% of the parents who took their children to other countries. Fathers made up fewer than a quarter of the parents who took their children that year, while the remaining 3% were grandparents, other relatives or institutions, the data shows.
“It’s outrageous that Sophie is trying to relocate the children to England," a source close to Jonas said. "Joe thinks she’s a great mom, but he’s the one who's been taking care of the kids while she’s been working overseas.”
The star couple met in 2016. They eloped in Las Vegas in 2019 and had an intimate ceremony a month later at Château de Tourreau in the south of France. Turner gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Willa, in July 2020, and their second child was born two years later.
Jonas said the marriage was “irretrievably broken” in his divorce filing this month.
Turner and Jonas said they “mutually decided to amicably end our marriage” in joint statements on their respective Instagram accounts on Sept. 6.
“There are many speculative narratives as to why but, truly this is a united decision and we sincerely hope that everyone can respect our wishes for privacy for us and our children,” they said.