The children were 10 1/2 and 9 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. The parents were married and both enjoyed rights of custody. On 17 February 1995 the mother took the children to Australia.
The family had lived primarily in the United States until the mother and children travelled to Australia, with the consent of the father, in December 1991. They remained eight months, returning on 22 July 1992.
On 4 July 1994 the mother again took the children to Australia for six months, returning on 5 January. On 17 February she took the children back to Australia without the consent of the father.
On 21 February 1995 the Circuit Court of Stafford County, Virginia, awarded the father temporary custody of the children.
On 13 December 1995 the Family Court of Australia refused to order the return of the children.
On 18 March 1996 the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia ordered the return of the children.
On 10 October 1996 the High Court of Australia ruled on Article 13(2) as it applied to the return application. The High Court ordered that a trial judge must make an assessment as to the children’s age and maturity.
On 21 November 1996 the trial judge ordered the return of the children.
The mother appealed.