Over four years ago David Goldman’s son, Sean, was abducted by his mother to Brazil. David has been fighting an expansive legal battle in the Brazilian courts to bring his son home.
David’s wife, Bruna, remarried in Brazil and then died last fall giving birth to a new daughter. Bruna’s new husband was then shockingly awarded custody of Sean by a Brazilian court.
Tonight on Dateline
At the U.S. Department of State International Parental Child Abduction-Brazil site there was this statement concerning child custody law.
Parents seeking the recognition of U.S. custody orders can initiate a process called homologation, which consists of registering the U.S. decision in Brazil. The process is very lengthy and ultimately must be upheld by a Brazilian court.
What are the consequences if it isn’t upheld as the word must is pretty clear to understand?
Update 02-05-09: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, is accompanying David Goldman to Brazil in an effort to re-unite him with his son. Yesterday he introduced a resolution calling on Congress to pressure Brazil to return Sean.
Title: Calling on the central authority of Brazil to immediately discharge all its duties under the Hague Convention by facilitating and supporting Federal judicial proceedings as a matter of extreme urgency to obtain the return of Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman, for immediate return to the United States.
Senators Frank Lautenberg, Robert Menendez Call on Brazilian President to Take Action to Return Sean Goldman to Father. Sen. Menendez is a member of the NJ Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force. Part of his agenda includes:
Democrats know that Hispanic values are America’s values. Democrats fight for policy initiatives that not only benefit millions of Hispanic Americans, but at the same time make America even stronger for future generations. Democrats support an agenda that will enable Hispanic families to achieve the American Dream.
In contrast, beyond photo-ops and political rhetoric, Republicans have
done little or nothing to advance Hispanic priorities.
Update 02-09-09: NJ man finally gets to see his son in Brazil
…Sean asked his dad why it took so long to visit him. “That was very painful,” Goldman said. “I saw the anguish on his face.”
What to tell the boy? Goldman was understandably reluctant to tell Sean how his mother first left him and then refused to let him see Sean.
“I didn’t want to hurt him by telling him the absolute truth, so I just said that the courts were making things very difficult,” Goldman said. “I said, ‘Sean, I’ve been here many, many times to try to be with you. The last time I was here I stayed for 10 days and I couldn’t be with you.’ ”
Dateline: Benita Alexander-Noel, Dateline producer
Just minutes ago, I watched him burst into tears again as his attorney called with the news that a panel of eight judges has just ruled unanimously that the case will be heard in a federal court in Brazil, not a state court. This is exactly what David’s attorneys, his many supporters, and all the politicans who have now stepped in to help him wanted.
Update 03-04-09: Clinton intervenes in US-Brazil custody case
CNN recap of David’s fight:
Father fights international custody battle
David Goldman dropped off his wife and 4-year-old son at airport in 2004 for vacation
Wife got a divorce in Brazil, later got remarried, got pregnant and died during birth
Wife’s family lawyer questions Goldman’s fitness as a parent
State Department, Hillary Clinton working to help get son returned to United States
Update 03-11-09: US lawmakers call on Brazil to return boy to US father
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the Brazilian government to return a boy who is living with his stepfather in Brazil to his American father.
Of 432 lawmakers in the House of Representatives, 418 voted in favor of the resolution to urge Brazil to return nearly nine-year-old Sean Goldman to the custody of his American father, David Goldman.
NEW YORK (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she is pushing Brazil’s government to return an 8-year-old boy to his father in New Jersey.
Speaking to NBC’s “Today” show from Jerusalem, Clinton said David Goldman has followed the rules “under every known law of international adoption” and should be granted custody of his son. She applauded his efforts to get custody of the boy.
“I did raise it at the highest levels of the Brazilian government,” she said.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man saw his 8-year-old son in Brazil on Monday for the first time in 4 1/2 years, shooting baskets and splashing in a pool with him, according to a congressman who is trying to help reunite them permanently.
RIO DE JANEIRO — When Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with President Obama on Saturday in Washington for the first time, the most closely watched issue between their two countries might not be energy, the environment or hemispheric security but the custody of an 8-year-old boy.
Update 03-14-09: Brazil says leave U.S. custody case to courts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A fight for custody of an 8-year-old boy whose American father says was abducted by his Brazilian mother will be left to Brazil’s courts, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula de Silva said Saturday.
“The problem of the child is in the (Brazilian) federal justice system,” he told a Portuguese-language news conference at the Brazilian Embassy, despite pressure from Washington for Brazil’s government to intervene in the dispute.
“We expect the justice system to do what the justice system should do … and the Brazilian government will respect it.”
Update 03-25-09: Senate calls for Brazil to return boy to dad in NJ
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has joined calls for Brazil to return a boy living there to his father in New Jersey.
Lawmakers unanimously passed the resolution late Tuesday.
Update 04-27-09: Minister Paul Vannuchi argues that Sean is with the Brazilian family
Brazilian National Human Rights Secretariat head Paulo Vannuchi this week urged the court not to give absolute custody to either party.
The boy should stay in Brazil, but Mr Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, should have liberal visitation rights, Mr Vannuchi told a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
The US Embassy urged Mr Vannuchi to reverse that position, citing a Hague Convention that outlines methods of returning children wrongfully removed from their home countries.
‘We call on the office of the Secretary of Human Rights to support the return of all children wrongfully removed and wrongfully retained,’ the US Embassy said in a statement.
Related Post: International parental abductions
Update 06-03-09: Brazilian judge suspends order to reunite American boy and father
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) — A Brazilian supreme court judge on Tuesday suspended a lower court’s order that would have given custody of a 9-year-old boy to the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro, where he was to be reunited with his American father.
Judge Marco Aurelio argued against taking Sean Richard Goldman from what has been his home for almost five years to the United States “in an abrupt manner.”
Doing so, he wrote in his order published on the supreme court’s Web site, could subject the boy to psychological harm.
The decision, which means the entire Brazilian supreme court will take up the case, comes a day after a superior court justice ordered Sean taken Wednesday to the U.S. consulate in Rio and handed over to his father, David Goldman, who arrived Tuesday from New Jersey to pick up his son.
Update 06-10-09: Brazil court clears an obstacle to boy’s US return
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a bid by a political party to stop a 9-year-old boy from being taken to the United States to live with his father. But the boy’s return to the U.S. is likely to be delayed by further legal appeals.
In a 10-0 decision, the Supreme Court refused to consider the appeal by a conservative Brazilian party that argued it would be wrong to take Sean Goldman from his stepfather’s custody after five years in the South American country.
The court ruled that a federal court should decide whether the boy will return to the U.S. or remain with his stepfamily in Brazil.
Update 06-20-09: Brazilian judge rules U.S. dad can visit son — in Brazil
NEW YORK (CNN) — A Brazilian federal judge has issued a ruling making it possible for David Goldman to have more access to his son Sean in the ongoing custody battle over the boy, Goldman’s attorney said Friday.
A Brazilian court ruled David Goldman can have custody of his son, Sean, but in Brazil, not in the United States.
The Brazilian court said Thursday it will allow Goldman to visit with his son unsupervised every week from Monday morning through Saturday evening. The problem is he must do it on Brazilian soil, not in New Jersey where he lives.
Patricia Apy, Goldman’s attorney, predicted Sean’s stepfather will file an appeal. In the meantime, she said, David Goldman will likely take advantage of the ruling and visit Sean soon, “despite his severe reluctance to engage in such behavior, given the observations of the Goldman family’s behavior toward Sean in response to his visits.”