There is renewed hope for David Goldman, the American father who’s been fighting for custody of his son for over a year. Today, a court in Brazil has ruled in Goldman’s favor and ordered that his 9 year old son be returned to his custody.
Goldman told reporters that he was hopeful but not optimistic, and that he will consider his efforts successful when he’s reunited with his son.
Goldman’s son, Sean, left the United States five years ago with his Brazilian mother, Bruna Bianchi, for what she said would be a two week vacation to her homeland. She never returned.
Bianchi later remarried in Brazil, and last year died in childbirth. Her family and Brazilian husband have custody of Sean, and argue that it would be traumatizing to return him to the United States and to the care of his father.
A Brazilian official with knowledge of the case predicted that the Brazilian family will probably appeal the order. So far the family has appealed 40 times.
The case has brought attention from high levels of government in both countries. US Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, Goldman’s state of residence, has been his chief advocate, pressing the case and referring to the boy’s Brazilian family and step father as “kidnappers.”
Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in recently, after the decision in Goldman’s favor. “We appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the government of Brazil in upholding its obligations under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction,” she said. “And it is my hope that this long legal process is now complete and that the Goldman family will be reunited quickly.”
The ruling was made by the Federal Regional Tribunal in Rio de Janeiro, which itself was upholding a decision in June by a Brazilian federal court, ordering Sean Goldman be returned to his home. That court cited the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abductions.