The children were aged, 5, almost 4 and 1 _ at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in England for the majority of their lives. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody.
The parents’ marriage was somewhat tempestuous. There were allegations of domestic violence and heavy drinking by the father. It was not disputed that the family had financial problems. In an attempt to deal with all of these issues the family moved to Spain on 13 November 1999. Whether the move was the subject of medium term planning by the parents, or a spur of the moment decision was a matter of dispute between the mother and father.
Upon arrival the family moved into a rented flat. Shortly thereafter a bar was purchased. In early February 2000 the family purchased a house. However during the period of residence in Spain the mother and father’s relationship deteriorated and on 15 February 2000 the mother flew back to England with the children.
The father then travelled to England in an attempt to persuade the mother to return. This was unsuccessful and he subsequently initiated return proceedings under the Convention.