The child, a girl, was 6 years old at the date of alleged wrongful retention. From March 1997 to 1998 she lived in Tennessee (USA) with her parents and three siblings from the mother’s previous marriage. In August 1998 the parents divorced. The father was awarded sole custody and his daughter remained with him in Tennessee. The mother moved to Germany with the three children of her first marriage.
In February 1999 the father, who was a soldier, took his daughter to Germany to stay with the mother. This was in anticipation of him being posted to Korea. The father was stationed in Korea from May 1999 to July 2000. In January 2000 the mother filed an application in a German district court for sole custody. During one of the subsequent hearings the father was present.
In December 2000 the father filed an application for his daughter’s return.