The case concerned a boy born in Pennsylvania (United States of America) in April 2007. Relations between the parents were stormy and the mother left the family home with the child. By rulings in late December 2007 and early January 2008, a US court ordered joint parental authority, awarded physical custody of the child to the mother and granted the father a right of access at specified times.
It enjoined each parent from removing the child from its jurisdiction without the other’s approval, and also permitted the mother to take the child to Switzerland on holiday until no later than 26 January. The mother failed to return the child. A canton Court at first instance ordered the child’s return on 20 October 2008; that decision was reversed by the Superior Court of the canton of Zurich on 26 January 2009.The father appealed to the Federal Tribunal.
On 16 April 2009, the Tribunal allowed the father’s appeal and ordered the mother to return the child to the USA within 30 days. In order to avoid the child’s separation from his mother (regarded as intolerable for the child), the Tribunal made the return order contingent upon the mother’s obtaining assurances enabling her to enter and reside in the USA until a ruling on custody. A first execution attempt failed (see 5A_721/2009, II. zivilrechtliche Abteilung, arr?t du TF du 7 d?cembre 2009 [INCADAT Reference: HC/E/CH 1058]).
The father initiated a second execution attempt. On 11 February 2010, the Office for Youth accepted the father’s request and allowed the mother 20 days to return the child to the USA voluntarily, and threatened enforcement if not. The same ruling detailed the terms of return.The mother appealed to the Federal Tribunal. She obtained a stay of execution until a ruling on that appeal.