Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas agreed to mediation to work out their custody issues

It’s been interesting to watch as Sophie Turner becomes some kind of sainted figure for a particular group of people, and those people suddenly fancy themselves family-law experts who claim that Sophie is 100% right and Joe is 100% wrong. While I’ve said all along that Joe’s carefully orchestrated campaign against Sophie was a nasty business, don’t confuse that with Sophie having a strong position. She is not in a strong position whatsoever. As soon as she claimed that Joe was abducting their children – while their daughters were with her in New York and after she had been served with the order to not remove the children from the US – it was clear that Joe and Sophie both needed to come to the table and work out their sh-t quietly. Thankfully, over the past week, it looks like they’ve started to do just that. They’re now dealing with the family court in New York, they agreed to not remove the girls from the greater New York area for the time being, and now they’ve agreed to mediation:

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are turning to mediation to work through custody of their children. In a hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for the estranged couple revealed that they are set to start a four-day mediation on Wednesday to resolve issues in their divorce, including establishing custody and a parenting plan for their two daughters, Willa, 3, and Delphine, 14 months.

Although Judge Katherine Polk Failla set a Jan. 2 trial date, the mediation aims to solve many of Turner, 27, and Jonas’ custody issues. In court, Turner’s lawyer Stephen Cullen claimed that Jonas, 34, is asking for joint custody, saying that “what he was looking for is a 50-50.”

“The parties are both seeing their children, which is what we all want,” Cullen later said.

Judge Failla agreed with Cullen, saying that she “echo[es] concerns about the children” that he had brought up.

Despite high hopes for the mediation, Cullen said that the current case “should proceed in parallel track to [the] mediation.”

Reps for Jonas and Turner did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment regarding the mediation.

[From People]

For the record… Joe has never said that his aim was full custody. He’s always said that he and Sophie should have 50-50 custody, and he’s actually fine with Sophie moving back to the UK and raising their daughters there half the time. He just doesn’t want to move to the UK, which seems to be the root of all of this drama more than anything else. I would love to know how all of this plays out in mediation, but that’s the whole point of Sophie and Joe going through mediation – they can work this sh-t out with their lawyers in a room instead of the acrimonious legal filings.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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47 Responses to “Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas agreed to mediation to work out their custody issues”

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  1. ML says:

    I don’t think most of us believe that one or the other should have 100% custody? Unless there’s a tragic, compelling reason for that, that never happens. What Joe is asking for: 50-50 custody is also impossible in an international divorce. (Actually, I know of one family EU-Australian where the parents switch custody every year due to the court’s ruling, but this is the only exception I know of and it’s weird.) One parent will simply see the kids more if they each live in their native country. Otherwise, JJ might be trying to force ST to live in the US. This totally depends on the judges and their understanding of international law on what happens if these two cannot come to an agreement.

    • Grant says:

      Seems like flipping custody every year would be incredibly disruptive for the children. How are they supposed to settle in schools if they’re bouncing around each year?

      • Blithe says:

        One way around that could be for the kids to stay —mostly— in one place, while the parents flip. Obviously this works better when everyone is physically reasonably close, but a first step for something like this would be to put in place a plan for schooling, then work around the school schedules. So, for example, one parent could have summers, plus relocate to wherever the kids are for another chunk of time. It’s messy, expensive, and needs a lot of flexibility, but in some ways it’s more stable, especially for younger kids. Then things get renegotiated as the kids get older.

        Good that there’s a mediator involved— to prioritize the best interests of the kids.

      • ML says:

        Grant, If you’re referring to that EU-Australian couple’s arrangement: I do not recommend it at all. Those two were toxic and also had issues with the cost of flying back and forth between countries (which JJ and ST do not have).

  2. Now that sounds like a good idea to get a mediator involved to help them through this mess. I hope that it works out for the kids sake because these two are their parents forever good or bad.

    • GoldenMom says:

      I wonder at what point one of them wakes up to the idea that the entire internet is involved in their lives and has an opinion. How is that a great life? Is ‘fame’ worth it? And, obviously, the kids had no say in this, yet we all know every bit of their legal situation.

      I miss preinternet days. Which makes me an old…

  3. SAS says:

    Who ever said Sophie is the one trying to get full custody? Are we forgetting the insane initial campaign to paint her as a bad mother? Joe tried it and realised 50-50 is the best he can get.

    And if he’s so happy for them to return to the UK part-time, he just changed his mind about moving there himself, how come he didn’t give her their passports when she returned? The man is nasty.

    • sevenblue says:

      “Are we forgetting the insane initial campaign to paint her as a bad mother? ”

      Thank you! I don’t understand what’s up with these articles treating his initial campaign against the mother of his children like something trivial. He basically said that she was a bad mother and sued her in FLORIDA where this kind of rumours would have an effect on the custody.

      • Concern Fae says:

        An outside observer on all things family law, but it astonishes me how some completely atrocious behavior is just fine with the court, while things that are just normal everyday life can be harshly punished by the courts.

        That said, I’m old enough to remember when international divorces often ended with the children being split between the parents. Grew up in DC, had a few friends in this situation. Had one friend with a sister who spoke no English. She was taking German to be able to talk with her in the future, but just accepted that they’d basically always be strangers.

    • Hillary says:

      Agreed & it’s amazing how people forget his initial campaign, and right after going into contract to purchase a home in the UK & having the kids for a bit while she worked. His initial punch was brutal, but she hit back & so now he’s willing to compromise. Happy to see his roll out didn’t work well for him in the public arena, which is probably the most important part to him.

  4. Purplehazeforever says:

    50/50 legal or physical custody? Two different things. When they are little, joint physical custody is possible but once they reach school age it will be harder. But these two have enough money to travel back & forth between the US & UK. At least Joe Jonas does. So the fighting over where to raise the kids when the parents can afford to travel seems to me like it’s trivial…I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. I would think you would put your kids first.

    • Snuffles says:

      Sophie wants the kids educated in the UK. If that happens, she would have them more than 50% of the time.

      When my friend got divorced and moved to a different state, her child lived with her during the school year and then they spent summers with their Dad. I’m guessing they worked stuff out with holidays and school breaks too.

      That’s probably what they need to get to. Maybe the sticking point is where the kids will be educated.

      • Becks1 says:

        This is what I think is likely to happen. And if those kids go to a school like the Wales’ children school, they’ll have lots of breaks, lol. So Joe will get the kids over the summer break, maybe they’ll alternate school breaks, maybe alternate holidays like Christmas. I think the sticking point for this will be flexibility. I know couples with reasonable custody agreements until one decides to not be flexible (so Sophie is supposed to have the kids for their fall break but she’s on location working 20 hour days so Joe takes the kids, but then he doesn’t let her have them for their next break so he gets two school breaks in a row or something.)

        Also in some states 50/50 custody dictates child support (I forget the number, I think its 148 or something in my state, maybe 108 and if the child has more than that many overnights at the non-primary custodial parent’s house its considered 50/50 and then child support goes away.) So that may be part of the strategy here as well.

      • Kirsten says:

        I think that this is also likely what they’ll get to. Sophie has the stronger claim to being able to provide a stable environment throughout the year — on top of having a support system already in place and schooling that’s better for the children, she also works predominantly in the UK, whereas JJ constantly travels.

  5. Josephine says:

    His statements — that he’s fine with Sophie remaining in the UK with the kids where they had already been living and splitting custody 50/50 — and that HE just doesn’t want to move to the UK — are incompatible. They are both wealthy enough to establish two residences, one in each country. It stinks. He probably genuinely does not want to live in the UK. But if the kids are going to genuinely reside with both parents then both parents must sacrifice so that the kids don’t have to. An arrangement that gives them 6 months in each country without the other parent being around in unrealistic and lousy to boot.

    • Cee says:

      I agree. Like, how does it work with school? They attend 2 different schools each year, in different countries, different school systems, etc?
      They need to either compromise on the location or fight it out in court and see who the judge awards 80% of custody to.

    • Golly Gee says:

      I’m guessing it’s his parents and particularly his mother who want to have their grandchildren around as much as possible. Since Joe is touring a lot of the time, location shouldn’t be such an issue for him. I imagine (based on how precious he seems to be) that his ideal is to spend time with his kids without actually looking after them. He would rely on his mother and of course a nanny to do most of the heavy lifting. So for those reasons, he wants them in Florida. Not fact, just my (possibly flawed) deduction/opinion.

  6. Becks1 says:

    Going to mediation doesn’t mean its settled (and I think some states may require mediation in these kinds of cases before trial anyway), but I think its a good step to hash out issues outside of court filings and People magazine.

    50/50 custody likely isn’t possible but it may be a good goal to work towards. IDK.

    • ML says:

      If mediation is not mandatory, going to mediation is a good sign that they actually want to see and speak to each other. Demanding mediation first is also a good idea to clear space in the court system. Basically you want the parents to do what’s best for their kids.
      European schools often space vacations differently. Here you go to school a maximum of 8 weeks and then have at least one week off (depending on the vacation). There’s less of a break in the summer though.

      • Houlihan says:

        I wouldn’t bet on them wanting to see each other. In cases with coercive control — which is what Joe has been doing with his smear campaign and entire filing strategy, as well as him monitoring her on the Ring camera and god knows what else — the current best practice for mediation is to avoid face-to-face contact. Instead, they do buffered mediation, at least at first, where they are in separate rooms and the mediator goes between them. Because mediation is more effective and productive when the parties can’t argue, interrupt, or set off each other just by raising an eyebrow or using a tone.

      • ML says:

        Thanks for explaining, Houlihan.

    • Kacy says:

      Exactly, in high conflict cases, it’s usually just a formality vs any compromises actually being achieved.

  7. Flower says:

    Best Interests of the child. That is all I have.

    What these two may want personally will be secondary to that.

    If the kids had been living in the UK then Joe’s wishes will become secondary to that.

    I hope these two can work something out for their children as there is a long road ahead and as other have said, they’re both rich enough to work this out logistically, although I accept this will be painful for the whole family.

  8. LeonsMomma says:

    Flight time approx. between New York and London is just over 7 hours; London and Los Angeles is just over 6 hours; and Miami to London 8 hours, 45 minutes. From what I understand, he will have custody of the girls in New York. So while this is onerous — and the children will need to fly back and forth — I am not seeing too much difference between the girls being based in the US or UK, based on travel time. (Now, of course, there is always flighy delays, the traffic getting to/from the airport…)

    Wish them luck and it works out in private instead of in the public sphere.

    • MF says:

      Flight time from LA to London is over 10 hours, not 6. That sounds like a lot for little kids.

      • LeonsMomma says:

        @MF: Sorry, you are correct. Read incorrectly. And yes, 10 hours is too much. Basing this on friend who had overseas custody: there is a point, if the children aren’t doing this from a young age, that they can get unruly. Had a friend who did this with 3 young children between Miami and Rome (over 10 hours) for a long time. Most of the time they did ok, then sometimes it was rough. She eventually went to court to stop doing it and won. Ex moved back to the states.

      • Twin Falls says:

        Then he shouldn’t buy his next house in LA. Joe doesn’t currently have a home that’s he’s been using to raise their kids – they sold that. He can pick anywhere to raise his kids because he’s a touring musician who travels the globe.

  9. Jess says:

    I don’t think the parents living on opposite sides of the ocean with such young kids is a good idea. My kids are similar ages to theirs and I cannot imagine not seeing them for six months at a time. They would have zero memory of who the other parent is once it came time to switch custody. That arrangement seems really bizarre and unhealthy. I know the rich are different from us normal people but I can definitely see why Joe does not want that to happen. I do think since the kids are born in the US and it seems like they’ve lived there the most that both parents will be stuck here. I do feel bad for Sophie, who clearly wants to go home to her family in the UK but unfortunately once you have kids in a different country with someone, returning home with the kids may not be possible. I always warn people to be very very careful who you have kids with, you can easily leave a marriage, sell a house etc , but when kids are involved, you might be stuck in an area for 18 years whether you want to be or not. I hope they find a good agreement that works for them and their children but I would be very surprised if that would involve the kids living in the UK for any length of time.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      nobody is saying that he wouldn’t be able to see his children at all for 6 months if Sophie is raising them in the UK (or that she can’t see them at all when they’re in the US). UK has more frequent and longer school breaks than we do here in the US (except I think their summer break is shorter), plus the parents can travel to the children to spend time with them as well.

  10. Grant says:

    Family law attorney in Texas here. Mediation is a fabulous resource and is required in most counties before proceeding to trial. To me, it’s always preferable to trial. I would say about 90% of my cases end up settling in mediation after a long, hard day with a skilled third party going from room to room to exercise some shuttle diplomacy. It also gives you the greatest opportunity to fine-tune your settlement to your satisfaction (as much as you can in a divorce/suit affecting the parent-child relationship). In a trial, you have X amount of time to tell a judge your life story before the judge issues her rulings. Not to mention the fact that in trial you say things about your ex that they will take to their grave (and vice versa); not a great way to start the co-parenting relationship!

  11. JMoney says:

    I don’t think ppl view Sophie as a saint. What ppl are seeing is an estranged husband filing for divorce while his spouse was in another country and proceeded with a pr smear which backfired.

    They’re seeing now with the letter, deposit and enrollment in school they were going to live in the UK. Yet he did all this while she was gone. While they were separating Sophie did not know when he was going to file for divorce and where. That is made clear by his actions plus his lawyer said Sophie was notified of the divorce on the 6th and TMZ broke the news on the 5th which tracks that she was blindsided.

    It’s clear Joe did not want to live there so now he filed in Fl but now a NY judge is saying the kids can’t leave. It’s hard not to see that Joe had clearly been planning this to keep the kids here. Couple that with the fact that Sophie’s lawyers said she has work in the UK in January and Joe who was the one who filed for divorce in the first place, said he wants the divorce to take place after the tour which ends what June/July of next year? And the judge moves the trial to early January?

    It’s hard not to see how Joe is using the system against Sophie in a vindictive way. Ppl saying she’s with Taylor Swift well yes. Her family do not work in the industry and can’t take time off for their kid’s divorce that will take months if not years? Her close friends are also in the UK working regular jobs and can’t come over for that same reason. Joe has his family and Sophie needs friends around her.

    • P says:

      I think your last paragraph about Sophie’s social situation is pretty astute. She had to come back to the States to deal with the surprise divorce and see her kids, and I guess they agreed to meet in New York. So she had to get a hotel, and I recently stayed in a cheap hotel in New York. It wasn’t actually cheap, surprise surprise!! So I can also imagine she didn’t intend to stay in New York. She probably intended to pick up the kids and take them home to the UK. So when Joe didn’t give her their passports, she had to scramble to find an attorney in foreign country to help her out. All while her closest friends and family are across an ocean? Well yeah I would take Taylor Swift up on her offer to use her extra apartment and her support! I would be flipping the f out!! So yeah, I have a lot of sympathy for Sophie. Yeah, I think Joe is being a sh*thead, even if he technically has a stronger legal argument. Does he have a stronger legal argument than Sophie? I don’t buy that. Maybe he hired Laura Wasser BECAUSE he didn’t have a strong legal argument.

      • Golly Gee says:

        Laura Wasser is apparently big on trying to resolve things through mediation. I hope the judge takes his tactics into account as indicative of his character when assessing the case as a whole. I know there is the letter of the law but not everything is carved in stone and it could affect some aspects of the way custody is decided.

  12. Cee says:

    He’s backtracking because he effed up, PR wise and legally.
    If I could advise them I would tell them to settle for middle ground and move somewhere they’d be close to where they want to live – e.g. NY
    The only way I can see for the children living somewhere else is if one parent is awarded more than 80% custody over the other (example: summers with dad, wherever he is)
    If he’s touring most of the year I can’t see how Joe would be able to offer a stable homebase while under his direct care (being raised by grandma Jonas is not direct care)

  13. Jj says:

    It’s been released that Joe is unable to appear for divorce court in Novemeber or December because of his scheduale so it may be pushed to January. Why would he file for a divorce if he’s not able to committ to the divorce proceedings?? He 100% rushed this while the girls were in his care and now he’s left looking like an asshole.

    • Kebbie says:

      She’s ready to get this moving and he’s just trying to delay…tells you everything you need to know really.

      • Golly Gee says:

        Someone up thread mentioned that she has to begin working in January so maybe this was his tactic to screw her over.

  14. P says:

    Ok, I know these two families are VERY different from each other, but I feel like Sienna Miller and Tom Sturridge, who are both British but seem to be in New York with their daughter a lot, may be a good model for Joe and Sophie. Like I said, very different circumstances, but Tom and Sienna seem to have done well with their girl. It sounds like Sienna has her during the school year, which is why she gave those great interviews about needing the childcare stipend in her contracts. Tom was working a lot in New York theater for several years, so he must have had their daughter on school holidays. Just want to point out that these people are rich and they can afford flights from London to New York easily. They’ll be able to figure it out.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Return flights from London to NY are not as expensive as you think – you can get cheap (direct) flights starting around £400, first class around £3/4k depending on how far in advance you book and which airline you go with.

  15. Jessla says:

    Hey, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis finally sorted out their custody battle rather quietly and peacefully so there’s hope that Joe and Sophie can do the same.

  16. hangonamin says:

    no one is saying Sophie is a saint. But Joe showed his face when he came out swinging with a divorce announcement and a smear. idk where there’s a “camp” saying sophie is 100% in the right. what was extremely crappy was that Joe smeared her as a bad mother and then when the poor girl went to dinner two nights in a row, somehow the title of the article is she goes partying, which literally just perpetuated the smear. that’s why more people are on her side.

  17. M says:

    De divorce is in florida in December the judge gave them 3 dates.
    Thought his lawyer said the 14 of December.The last date is the 9 of December for the tour .The 2 of January is for custody.

  18. M says:

    There is no ring camera she was in the UK how could Joe see anything she was staying in a hotel. What happened was Sophie was supposed to fly to the US for a week after they wrapped up in Birmingham to see Joe and the girls but instead she stayed in the UK for the week before they left for Mallorca. And all the slandering people are talking about are all from sources and the paparazzi trying to find out what happened.There is only 2 people who knows what’s going on and that is Joe and Sophie.
    Stop blaming the one or the other or taking sides and stop listening to the paparazzi.

  19. I see you too says:

    Hope they work it out.