The alleged wrongful retention related to four children. On 22 July 1996 the mother took them from their home in England to visit their father in the United States. He had been there since November 1994.
After the children’s arrival the father took and “secured” their passports. He then filed for divorce in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County. On 6 August 1996 the mother filed a petition in that court for the return of the children on the basis that they were being wrongfully retained.
On 3 September 1996 the court dismissed the mother’s petition.
On 15 September 1996 the mother filed a return petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.