The child, a boy, was almost 3 years old at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. From his birth in February 1998 to December 2000 he had lived in Finland. In July 1999 the parents divorced. In January 2000 the parents were awarded joint custody, with the mother having care of the child, the father access.
In December 2000 the mother unilaterally removed the child to Germany. After she informed the father about her new whereabouts, the father filed a return application. On 7 March 2001 the Family Court (Familiengericht) of K??ln ordered the child’s return. The mother appealed.