The child was 12 _ at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. She had lived in the United States, Peru and New Zealand. Her longest period of residence in a single country was in Peru between 1993 and 1998, thereafter her country of residence changed at least 9 times.
The parents, both Peruvian citizens, were separated. In 1990 a New Zealand court awarded the mother primary custody, but prohibited the removal of the child from the jurisdiction. Two years later the child was allowed to relocate to Peru with the mother. While in Peru the parents were reconciled for a number of years. In 1998, after they stopped living together, the parents agreed to share custody.
In early 2000 the mother allowed the child to go from New York to Peru, and then onto New Zealand with her father. The intention behind this trip was the subject of dispute. The father argued that it was to be indefinite, the mother that it was to end in July 2000.
The mother made repeated requests from July 2000 onwards for the child to be returned. In December 2000 the child did return to New York. In January 2001 the father travelled to New York to take the child back to New Zealand. The mother refused and the father instituted return proceedings.