The application concerned two children, a boy aged eleven and a girl aged five, born to a Scottish mother and a Spanish father. The elder child was born in the United States of America, the younger child in Scotland. The family were habitually resident in Spain and lived together in an apartment.
The parents were not married and under Spanish law had joint parental authority. The relationship deteriorated early in 2011 and in March or April 2011 the parties agreed to separate. They continued to live together while they negotiated arrangements for the children. Both parties instructed lawyers.
On 17 June 2011 the mother applied for custody of the children. Three days later, on 20 June, she removed the children to Scotland. On 22 June 2011 the father applied to a Spanish Court for an interim order that they should reside with him until the conclusion of the custody action. On 8 November 2011, the Spanish Court awarded care and custody of the children to the father on an interim basis.