The proceedings related to a child born in the United States of America on 10 May 2012 to an American father and South African mother. The parents had married in April 2011 and shared custody rights in respect of the child.
On 28 June 2012, the mother took the child to South Africa for an agreed stay. The length of the stay was the subject of dispute between the parents. The mother needed to apply for a new visa in order to take up employment in the United States of America. She also needed assistance with care for the child who had a serious medical condition.
The father visited the family on 18 August 2012. On 21 August, the father was served with divorce proceedings. On his return to the United States of America, the father issued his own divorce proceedings and filed a request for the return of the child.