The mother and father, South African nationals, were married in 1993. Their child, a boy, was born in Canada in May 1995. The family returned to South Africa during the summer of 1995 and lived there for a year.
In August 1996 they returned to the United States and lived in Pennsylvania. The mother brought the child to Saskatchewan for a one-month visit in August 2000. After her arrival she decided to stay and applied for custody. In September 2000, the father applied for custody in Pennsylvania and applied for the return of the child.