1:25pm EST update
A rep for Joe told HELLO! in a statement: "After multiple conversations with Sophie, Joe initiated divorce proceedings in Florida, as Florida is the appropriate jurisdiction for the case," adding: "Sophie was aware that Joe was going to file for divorce. 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."
It continued: "Joe and Sophie had a cordial meeting this past Sunday in New York, when Sophie came to New York to be with the kids. They have been with her since that meeting. Joe's impression of the meeting was that they had reached an understanding that they would work together towards an amicable co-parenting setup.
"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. If he complies, Joe will be in violation of the Florida Court order."
Shortly after the Jonas Brothers member, 34, filed for divorce earlier this month after four years of marriage, Sophie, 27, is now demanding that their kids, daughter Willa and a second daughter whose name has never been revealed, be returned to their mom's home country of England.
According to court documents obtained by The Messenger, her attorneys are citing the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and she claims that before Joe's filing, the family planned to permanently move to their "forever home" in England, where they were building a home set to be finished by the end of the year.
Furthermore, she is accusing Joe of "wrongful retention" of the girls – she has been filming her new movie Joan in England while he is on tour with his brothers Kevin and Nick Jonas – which she says started "on or about" September 20.
She claims he is refusing to return their daughters' passports to her, which she needed for their alleged previously agreed upon plan for the girls to return to England with Sophie this week.
The court documents read: "Objectives of the Convention are to secure the immediate return of children wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained in any Contracting State, and to ensure that 'rights to custody' under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in other Contracting States."
Though Sophie and Joe have always kept their daughters out of the public eye, the documents reveal that the now estranged couple planned to raise their daughters in her native England, and that they are "fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England," receive their primary healthcare in the country, and "participate in extracurricular activities, playdates, and cultural activities" across the pond.
Additionally, they maintain that Joe's refusal to "send the children home to England with their Mother" is a breach of Sophie's "rights of custody under English law."
Shortly after Joe filed for divorce on September 5, the former couple wrote in a statement on Instagram: "After four wonderful years of marriage we have mutually decided to amicably end our marriage. 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 and our children."
The two reportedly separated in late August, and in the documents filed on Thursday, Sophie said their split "happened very suddenly," after an argument on August 15.
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