The child, a boy, was nearly 2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. He had lived in both the United States and Italy. The parents were separated.
On 4 May 1995 the mother took the child to Italy with the father’s consent. On 11 November 1995 the father sent a letter to the mother stating that he did not intend to continue with the marriage. On 22 November the Padova Municipality in Italy issued a certificate of residence in respect of mother and child. On 4 December the mother and child returned to California.
On 13 December 1995 the mother returned to Italy with the child but without the father’s consent. On 15 April 1996 the Supreme Court of California, Santa Clara County stated that the child was habitually resident in the State of California, that both parents had custody rights and that the removal of the child was wrongful. On 21 May the father applied to the Central Authority for the return of the child.