Brazil Court Rules Sean Goldman Should Be Returned to US Father in 48 Hours

Goldman father and son The custody battle in Brazil over American Sean Goldman started in June 2004 may be getting to an end. The Federal Regional Court (TRF) of the 2nd Region, in Rio de Janeiro, decided this Wednesday, December 16, that Sean Goldman, 9, should be returned to his biological father, the American David Goldman, in 48 hours.

According to a spokesperson for the TRF, the lawyer for Goldman believes that the boy should return to the United States on Friday. This drama started when the boy's mother, Brazilian Bruna Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro, left her husband, David Goldman, for an alleged vacation of two weeks with her son, then 4, in Brazil.

They lived in the city of Titon Falls, in New Jersey. When Bruna arrived in Brazil she call the husband to tell him that the marriage was over and that she would not return to the US.

While she continued married to David in the United Sates, Bruna got a divorce in Brazil without the husband's consent and remarried in Brazil famous lawyer João Paulo Lins e Silva. She died, however, while giving birth to her child with Lins e Silva.

At the time of Bruna's death last year, David Goldman went to Brazil to bring his son back to the United States. Since then, he fights for custody of the boy in the Brazilian courts against the stepfather of Sean and his maternal grandparents.

In June, a judge from the 16th Federal Circuit had already determined the return of the boy to his biological father. Lins e Silva's attorney, Sergio Tostes, appealed though, at that time, to the TRF.

As determined by the Brazilian Justice, Sean should be taken to the U.S. consulate in 48 hours, starting Wednesday afternoon. David Goldman is expected tomorrow in Rio to be reunited with his son.

In the meantime, Brazil's Supreme Court (STF) is reviewing a preventive habeas corpus filed by Sean's grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, who is asking for an injunction to prevent the boy's departure from Brazil without him being heard directly by the first instance judge. 

According to the STF, she wants the court to hear the boy's testimony so he will be able to say if he really wishes to leave the country with his biological father or would rather stay in Brazil with his Brazilian family, the step-father, maternal grandparents and little sister.

The grandmother contends that the Federal Court in Rio decided to send the boy to the United States without hearing the testimony of the child, "stopping him from expressing his opinion about his compulsory departure from the country, as provided for in Article 13 of the convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction" or the Hague Convention (Decree 3413/2000), Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Children (Decree 99.710/90) and section II of Article 16 of Brazil's Statute of Children and Adolescents.

The Supreme Court in previous rulings about the case determined that the final decision should be taken by the Rio de Janeiro justice. It also rejected another habeas corpus application filed on July 30.

If there is no new court maneuvers to change the Rio's ruling, Sean may return to the United States as early as Friday. Tostes, the stepfather's lawyer left the court Wednesday without giving interviews.

The Goldman case has gone all the way up to the highest diplomatic level. American president Barack Obama mentioned the matter in a meeting, last March, in Washington with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

This Wednesday night Minister Marco Aurélio Mello, from Brazil's Supreme Court, informed that he will decide within 48 hours if Sean Goldman stays or not in Brazil.


  • Show Comments (11)

  • Pierre Lacour

    About the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children
    I do not agree at all with Mississauga Dad. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children talks about the rights of children to see their parents. Not so surprisingly, the US has not ratified this convention. Perhaps because the US family court system commonly deprives fathers from the right to see their children while enforcing only fathers obligation to pay child support.

  • A Father

    Brazil Court Rules Sean Goldman
    What about millions of Fathers who are MIA because of the family court system? Political figures often discuss the welfare of our children but never discuss the problem regarding our family court system, unfair visitation laws and how those laws effective fathers who want to be part of their childrenˢ۪s lives.

    There is a Child Support Enforcement agency in every state but not a Visitation/Parenting Time Enforcement Agency. Why?? This needs to be an issue addressed at the federal level and not decided by the states because the system at the state level is not working. Most states call the time Fathers spend with their children as À¢€œVisitationÀ¢€Â instead of calling it what it is À¢€œParenting timeÀ¢€Â. Parenting time is a time to be a parent to your child. Visitation is what the family court force on fathers, as they want fathers to become an occasional visitor. Family courts wants fathers to settle for becoming a ‘Disney Dad,’ one whose role is nothing more than outings to theme parks once or twice a month. Why canÀ¢€™t the family courts grant time to fathers in a frequency, duration, and type reasonably calculated to promote a strong and loving relationship between the child and the parent? The standard visitation which is four days a month is not enough time to be an effective parent to your child. The family courts very, very rarely enforce visitation. Here, the prejudice is against fathers and their parental rights. The congress refuses to acknowledge the injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of denying the love and companionship between a father and their child.

    Fathers are systematically eliminated from their childrenˢ۪s lives. Fatherˢ۪s parental rights are systematically terminated by family court judges who have a deep seated gender bias against fathers. Termination of parental rights is both total and irrevocable. Termination of parental rights is the family law equivalent of the death penalty in a criminal case. The primary casualties in our Domestic Relations courts are our children.

    Courts are supposed to approach cases of child custody, support payments, and visitation rights in a gender-neutral posture. It sounds fair, and it is fair. But it is a myth. Judges are not enforcing these gender laws fairly, and few seem to care. Unless you have been forcefully removed from the everyday upbringing of your child by the Court, you can not fathom the emotional distress. To discriminate against fathers because of their gender in this day and age is no different than telling a person to go to the back of the bus because of their skin color. With sole or primary custody going to the mother in roughly 90% of cases, claiming custody is not based on gender would be like claiming hiring is not based on race if 90% of a particular race, though equally qualified, was unable to obtain employment. This was missing from the Obamaˢ۪s Fatherˢ۪s day speech. What about millions of Fathers who are MIA because of the family court system?

    The child’s right to equal access and opportunity with both parents, the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents, the right to have major decisions made by the application of both parents’ wisdom, judgment and experience. The child does not forfeit these rights when the parents divorce.

  • Laura Saveno

    Congratulations David Goldman. You’re a really father and adore Sean. That Brazilian family even did not think the best for Sean. I can imagine that Sean’s stepfather did not love him. You have to see what happened fron to Us Consulate in Rio de Jainero to see the circus I this Brazilian family never though in Sean’s feelings about the whole situation.
    Sean will be very happy with his father and family in the US. I just saw a video in the airplane in Orlando Sean sleeping and his father kissing him in his head with so much love. He love deeply his son and He could go to the end of the earth to get him back. God Bless both of them.
    Welcome home SEAN GOLDMAN

  • C. Walther

    I have long wanted to visit Brazilian and am a great fan of Brazilian music and culture. However, I believe the world community should boycott travel to Brazil and Brazilian tourism until Sean Goldman is rightfully returned to his father David Goldman. The continued separation of this son from his rightful father Рand the Brazilian governmentˢ۪s support of illegal kidnapping Рis a disgrace.

  • Johnny Rotten

    What a crappy justice system you have in Brazil!
    All Justice systems are tainted by the influence of people with contacts and money – but Brazil boasts one of the worst .
    The rich and corrupt enjoy the fruits of Brazils natural wealth – while the poor languish like rats feeding on each other in your favelas.
    I hope this dad finally gets custody of his son in a case which is a national disgrace.

  • Cowboy Frank

    To the kidnappers…
    Ain’t justice a bitch? 😉

  • Mississauga Dad

    United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children fails miserably
    “A Father” you are so very, very right. The harassment and abuse of fathers that is not only sanctioned but indeed mandated by the family court systems in virtually every western nation is a glaring example of the violation of the human rights of fathers and their children.

    Recently much was made of the anniversary of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Children (UNCRC). In fact it has been stated by feminist apologists and their sycophants in countless governments, social agencies, and courts that the rights set out in the UNCRC contain the essential building blocks to help our children and young people to be active and engaged citizens.

    Unfortunately this assessment of the UNCRC could not be more wrong. One of the most important, if not THE most important, rights of children is never mentioned, let alone mandated in the UNCRC.

    I am speaking of the right of a child to have a meaningful relationship with BOTH his parents – and in particular with his father. Current family law in most of the western world not only discourages this but in fact is so blatantly anti-father and misandrist that it essentially mandates that children of separated or divorced parents be forbidden from seeing their father, let alone have any type of meaningful relationship.

    In fact, recent legislation in the U.K. has enshrined in law the view that a father is totally unnecessary while at the same time providing for a child to have two mothers but no father.

    It is depressing, but probably more telling of the current feminist, socialist political tyranny, that no one who claims to be an advocate for children’s rights professes concern about, or even bothers to mention, the lack in the UNCRC of a mandate that it is a basic inalienable right of a child to have a meaningful relationship with their father.

    Indeed, we are standing in the way of opportunity for our children and until every child has the right to be loved by their father we will make no progress in recognising the rights of any child.

  • fried chc

    Nooooot so Faaaaaaaaast!
    Next stop…. Supreme Court!

    Keep trying gringalhada…


  • Justin

    Let’s hope it’s for real
    If not, I’m going to ask to enter a new definition for Brazil.

    1. See Kidnapper.
    2. Also a county where kidnapping (see Brazil) is allowed.

    I’d like to see the same definition for JoÀƒ£o Paulo Lins e Silva

  • anonymous

    Congratulations to the father. I hope this is true, since i have seen Brazilian courts do strange flip-flops on justice. If it is true, it revives faith in the fairness of the Brazilian justice system.

    All the people in this case are in my prayers, since obviously everyone seems to want the best for the child.

  • leslie

    Let the boy go home to his father. Hasn’t everyone suffered enough! The court has ruled time after time that the boy belongs to his father. Lins e silva doesn’t want him. He has a new woman they will make their own babies. Sivana, you had your family and you still have the little girl and your son Luca. Let Sean go. HE IS NOT YOUR CHILD.

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