The former couple’s custody mediation began in New York City on Wednesday as they were each seen arriving to a Manhattan federal courthouse. Though a judge set a Jan. 2 trial date earlier this week, respective lawyers for Sophie, 27, and Joe, 34, have reportedly said that they hope to resolve the matter amicably.
The legal proceedings come after the “Game of Thrones” alum filed a lawsuit alleging Joe’s “wrongful retention” of their two daughters – Willa, 3, and Delphine, 1 – and requesting they be returned to her home country of England.
Federal court documents filed in September and obtained by Access Hollywood noted that Sophie and Joe lived in multiple locations during their relationship and allegedly agreed to settle permanently in England with their girls. They began searching for their “forever home” overseas in late 2022 and were “very excited” for the move, the docs claim.
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Additional legal paperwork obtained by Access last week claims that Sophie has a note Joe allegedly wrote to persuade a homeowner in Oxford, England to sell them their property, which the family would have lived in permanently.
Joe filed for divorce in Florida on Sept. 3 after four years of marriage, a move which Sophie claims in her petition came as a surprise. According to the docs, the pair had an argument in mid-August and Sophie didn’t discover the divorce proceedings were official until the news went public on Sept. 5.
In a statement to Access, Joe denied the claims made in Sophie’s suit, alleging that she was indeed aware he intended to file for divorce and claiming that the Florida court order prevents either of them from relocating the children at this time.
The actress had been working in England on her upcoming TV series “Joan” in recent weeks while Joe remained in the States with the girls during his tour with brothers Nick Jonas and Kevin Jonas. Sophie’s petition claims she had “hesitation” about the arrangement.
In her lawsuit, Sophie’s legal team accused Joe of refusing to return their daughters’ passports. The petition claims that the pair met after their split to discuss custody arrangements, when Joe allegedly revealed he had changed his mind about having the kids live in England full-time.
According to Joe’s rep, the singer felt that he and Sophie had reached an understanding about their co-parenting approach during their post-split meeting. The statement alleges that Sophie expressed her desire for the children to be taken to England permanently, which Joe’s team claims is a violation of the Florida court order if he complies. The statement added that the kids have spent most of their lives in the States and Joe is “okay” with them being raised in both the U.S. and the U.K.
An interim consent was filed on behalf of Sophie and Joe on Sept. 25 indicating their agreement to keep the children in New York City as they navigate their divorce.
Sophie and Joe have only issued one joint statement on their breakup, saying in respective Instagram posts on Sept. 6 that they had “mutually decided to amicably end” their marriage. They also referenced the “speculative narratives” surrounding the news and insisted the choice was a “united” one.
In his divorce filing, Joe called the marriage “irretrievably broken” and indicated plans for joint custody of the girls.
After a two-year engagement, he and Sophie tied the knot in 2019 in double ceremonies – one in Las Vegas after that year’s Billboard Music Awards and then in a more formal ceremony in France.
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