Brazil Justice Allows US Father to Have Son Back, But He Has to Stay in Rio

Sean Goldman The 16th Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro decided that American David Goldman can live with his 9-year-old son during the week as long as the boy stays in Brazil.  It was a victory of sorts, a decision by the Brazilian justice favoring American David Goldman, who is trying to take to the US his son, Sean Goldman, who was abducted by his own mother from the US to Brazil 5 years ago. 

The mother, Bruna Bianchi, died while giving birth to a daughter last year, but the woman's new husband, a powerful Brazilian lawyer, has been able to prevent Goldman from taking his son home. 

The new decision by Rio's Federal Justice also stipulates that Sean is to spend Sundays with his Brazilian stepfather, João Paulo Lins e Silva.  The boy's Brazilian family lawyer informed, however, that they are going to appeal the decision.

The same judge who issued this last ruling, Rafael Pereira Pinto, had determined earlier that the child be returned to his biological father to be taken to the US, but that order was overruled by the Brazilian Supreme Court, which also refused to deal with the case and sent it back to be decided by Rio's Regional Federal Court (TRF).

Sean is being disputed in the courts by the stepfather, whose family the Lins e Silvas, is a very rich and influential family in Brazil. The previous ruling by judge Pereira Pinto had ordered that the boy be given to the father in 48 hours. The Supreme, however, on intervening has also noted that  there is no doubt that "the minor needs to once again have contact with the father as soon as possible."

Sérgio Tostes, the Lins e Silva's lawyer, informed that he intends to appeal to the Rio's TRF but recognized that the new determination is more suitable to Sean's Brazilian family aspirations.  They want to prevent the boy from suddenly moving to the United States, something that according to the attorney would be a violence against the boy's own wishes.

Said Tostes: "The judge's decision is totally extravagant and shows his acknowledgment that he made a mistake when he ordered a trip in less than 48 hours and compliance to an agreement in that country, out of his jurisdiction. For the family, this is something better, since he will not need to travel to the United States."

Tostes handed out to the Justice, this week, a report prepared by a psychologist hired by Lins e Silva where it's shown that Sean wishes to stay in Brazil. While the document has no juridical value Tostes believes that it might help his case and he encourages David Goldman to get his own psychologist to also hear the boy.

In a tape made by the psychologist and released by Lins e Silva, Sean calls Lins e Silva his father and insists that he wishes to stay in Brazil. The boy also complains that this biological father has skipped some visitations with him.

According to the psychologist Bianca Zacher, general secretary of the Brazilian Society of Juridical Psychology, heard by daily O Estado de S. Paulo, the child's Brazilian family might be adding to the boy's suffering by making him talk again. She says that is important that the boy be heard, but this should be done seldom and with much tact .

"The child," she observes, "relives the traumas every time he exposes himself and needs to tell his story, which is suffering."  She also criticized the interview's publication. "This child has already been overexposed," Zacher argues.

Sean was born in New Jersey and lived there until the age of 4, when his mother, Bruna Bianchi, took him for what should have been a brief vacation to Brazil. Bruna, however, never went back to the US and ended up marrying Lins e Silva. Today, a age 9, the kid lives in Rio with the stepfather, the maternal grandmother and the little sister who was born last year.

Some friends of Goldman in the US believe that the father would have a hard time to leave everything in the United States to go live right now in Brazil to comply with the new ruling. They say that he is very busy in New Jersey where he makes a living organizing fishing boat rides for tourists.

The decision over the return of Sean could take a long time. Rio's Regional Federal Court still hasn't scheduled  hearings to rule on the case.

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