The children were 13, 11 and 7 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in Spain all of their lives.
In February 1993 the tribunal of first instance in Alicante delivered a provisional decree granting the mother physical custody of the children.
In July 1993 the mother travelled with the children for a vacation in the United States whereupon she immediately filed for divorce and custody. The father issued a petition for the children’s return to Spain pursuant to the Convention.
On 20 August 1993 the US court ordered the children’s return and they duly went back to Spain.
On 16 November 1994 a Spanish court denied the mother’s petition to relocate with the children to the United States. An appeal to the Spanish Court of Appeals was not scheduled to be heard until 15 September 1998.
On 29 June 1996 the mother filed a petition with the Spanish trial court giving notice that with the father’s consent, she would again vacation with the children in the United States from 8 July 1996 to 17 August 1996. Upon arriving in the United States, the mother advised the father that she would not be returning.
On 9 September 1996 the father applied for return of the child under the Convention.