The child, a girl, was 7 years old at the time of the alleged wrongful retention. She was born in England in 1994 and lived there until August 2000. The parents married in 1982 but divorced in 1997, when an English court decided that the girl should live with the mother. However, both parents retained rights of custody.
The father moved to Denmark in 1997, whilst mother and child stayed in England. In August 2000 the mother asked the father to take care of the child for 1 year while the mother was hospitalized and treated for an illness. The parents therefore made a written “interim residence agreement”, stating that the child should stay with her father in Denmark from August 2000 to August 2001 at the latest.
The girl moved to Denmark, but in July 2001 the father informed the mother that the girl was not going back. The mother issued a return application. In October 2001 the English Central Authority stated that the agreement made by the parents was a valid and not contrary to English law, and in November 2001 the English High Court ruled that the child was being wrongfully retained in Denmark.
On 30 January 2002 a Danish county court ruled that the retention was wrongful, and that the Article 13(1)(b) exception had not been proved. The father was not ordered to pay the mother’s costs. The father appealed the return decision.