The 32-year-old actress’ attorney, Judith Poller, served the divorce filings to Dauriac’s lawyer, Hal Mayerson, on Tuesday after a source confirmed to PEOPLE in late January that the couple had been separated since the summer.
“Under the law in NYC, the filing of an action for divorce is merely procedural,” the insider says. “No request for a judge was requested. While her lawyer did request that Scarlett get residential custody, again, for procedural purposes, they preserved all rights she had if they didn’t resolve the case. It wasn’t a secret that the parties were separated. So filing for divorce is no big deal. This is not a hostile act by Scarlett.”
“It is indeed unfortunate, especially for our daughter, that Scarlett filed in Court and made our personal differences so public,” the journalist and art collector said in a statement. “I would implore her to withdraw her action promptly and go back, as uncomfortable as it might be, to the negotiating table. We are the parents of a lovely daughter whom we will continue to co-parent for many years and share her joys and sorrows as only a parent can.”
Dauriac’s lawyer claims the two were in the middle of private negotiations when Johansson filed papers.
“We were shocked that they filed these proceedings in court,” he told PEOPLE. “We had been negotiating information relevant to their child Rose and also economic issues, so we were stunned when they did this. We’ve told [Johansson and her lawyers] that we would go to any means to try to avoid this.”
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Both parents are seeking residential custody of their daughter. New York family law attorney Marilyn B. Chinitz, who is not connected to the case, told PEOPLE that courts will look at where the child has familial connections and stability.
“[Dauriac] doesn’t get to go back to France with the child simply because he’s been caring for her while Scarlett is doing movies. That’s not sufficient. That’s a transient, temporary scenario,” she said. “And the court looks to deeper levels of commitment to the child — the stability, the security, emotionally, financially.”
Meanwhile, Johansson issued a statement this week declaring that she will “never” open up about their split.
“As a devoted mother and private person and with complete awareness that my daughter will one day be old enough to read the news about herself, I would only like to say that I will never, ever be commenting on the dissolution of my marriage,” the statement reads. “Out of respect for my desires as a parent and out of respect for all working moms, it is with kindness that I ask other parties involved and the media to do the same.”