The application related to a child born in 1996. He had spent his entire life in the United States with his parents until he was taken by his mother to Germany in December 1997.
The purpose of this trip was the subject of dispute, it was the mother’s case that it was a permanent relocation, whilst in the father’s view it was simply a short term visit and it was only in May 1998 that he became aware that the mother did not intend to return.
On 29 January 1999 the Family Court (Familiengericht) ordered that the child be returned. The mother appealed.