The mother and father met and married in Australia. The mother was a British national and the father an Australian national. Their two children were born in 2012 and 2014, and during the latter stages of the mother’s maternity leave, the marriage was in difficulties.
The father agreed the mother could travel to England with the children for 8-weeks and they arrived in England in May 2015. Further discussions in late-June 2015 resulted in the father agreeing to the trip being extended by up to a year.
The mother therefore gave notice to her Australian employer and began looking for work in England. She enrolled the oldest child in school in September 2015 and, without telling the father, began applying for British citizenship for both children. In the letter her solicitors sent to the immigration authorities on her behalf, it was said that she had been the victim of domestic abuse at the father’s hands and that it was not safe for either her or the children to return to Australia.
In the meantime, the father continued to press the mother on the children’s expected date of return. In February 2016, she said she did not know what her plans were, but she would not be returning in May. In June 2016, she confirmed that she intended to remain in the UK ?for the short term”. The father subsequently commenced his application for the children’s summary return to Australia in July 2016.