The child, a girl, was 8 _ months at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. She had lived in the United States since birth. On 28 September 1998 the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the mother temporary custody. A final hearing was scheduled for 16 October. On 4 October the mother took the child to Germany, her State of origin.
On 5 October 1998 the father obtained an order from the Los Angeles Superior Court prohibiting the mother from removing the child from the State of California. On 12 October 1998 the Family Court (Familiengericht) of Tostedt in Germany granted the mother temporary custody. On 16 October 1998 the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the father custody of the child and noted that the mother had violated the court order of 5 October 1998.
On 7 January 1999 the father applied for the return of the child. On 20 January 1999 the Family Court (Familiengericht) of Tostedt ordered the return of the child. The mother appealed.