The procedure for the return of the retained child was initiated by the father. The mother came to Croatia in December 2015 to assist with the care of her sick mother. With the express consent of the father, the child came with the mother. She owned a flat in Croatia and began actively looking for a job while staying there. The child was enrolled in and attended a local kindergarten. In February 2016 the mother informed her husband that she would remain permanently in Croatia. The father initiated the procedure for the return of the child, by filing a return application with the German Central Authority in March 2016. The Croatian Central Authority submitted a request to the Social Welfare Centre (the relevant competent authority) to encourage the voluntary return of the mother and child to Germany. The mother refused to return voluntarily. The child was five years old at the time of the proceedings. The judicial proceedings in Croatia commenced on 30 May 2016.