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Divorcing actress Sophie Turner and singer Joe Jonas embroiled in child abduction dispute

AuthorsAmy Harris

Divorcing actress Sophie Turner and singer Joe Jonas embroiled in child abduction dispute

It has been reported that actress Sophie Turner has made an application to a court in New York for the return of her two children — fathered by singer Joe Jonas — to the UK.

Here, Legal Director and divorce expert Amy Harris explores Ms Turner’s options.


Unlawful retention of children

The couple, who have recently separated, are understood to be going through divorce proceedings that have been started in the US.

The reports show that Ms Turner alleges that Mr Jonas has unlawfully retained the children and their passports in the US without her permission. It is understood that Mr Jonas disputes her claim that he has abducted his children.


Jurisdiction of divorce proceedings

Mr Jonas has also suggested that Ms Turner would prefer divorce proceedings to take place in the UK. In our experience, some separated couples who have international connections may disagree as to which is the most appropriate country for divorce proceedings to take place.

There could be many reasons why one person may prefer a divorce to take place in a particular country, such as convenience, language, cost or because they consider that the law might be more favourable to them.

It’s unclear from the reports as to whether Ms Turner will be making an application to the court to dispute which country the divorce should take place in. She would need to take specialist legal advice before making a decision.


International travel restrictions for children

It’s usually necessary for both parents to agree for a child to travel abroad.

If a parent travels abroad with a child without the permission of the other parent, this can constitute child abduction. This is a criminal offence.

Where parents disagree as to what the arrangements for their children should be following separation, it’s preferable for parents to try to come to an agreement. If this isn’t possible, it might be necessary for one parent to make an application to the court for permission to relocate abroad with their children.

If a parent makes a unilateral decision without consulting the other parent, this may be considered unlawful retention of a child or child abduction, if the children aren’t returned to the place where they usually live.

If you need to take specialist international family law advice, talk to us.

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