Brazil’s Supreme Court unanimously knocked down one legal roadblock in the possible return of 9-year-old Sean Goldman to his Tinton Falls home yesterday.
But the boy’s repatriation with his father, David Goldman, remains on hold while yet another lower-court ruling in the highly charged international custody battle for the boy is appealed, according to reports in today’s Asbury Park Press and elsewhere.
From the Press:
Following a hearing this afternoon in Sao Paulo, the supreme court of Brazil voted 10-0 to deny a petition brought by the conservative Progressive Party to throw out a federal judge’s June 1 ruling stating that Sean Goldman must be returned to his father’s custody…
On June 1 – after a protracted legal battle that has drawn increasing international attention – a federal Brazilian judge ruled Sean should be returned to his father’s custody within 48 hours. A subsequent appeal filed by Progressive Party – reportedly at the behest of the boy’s Brazilian stepfather, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva – sought to challenge the validity of the Hague Convention in the case and also disputed whether a transfer of custody could be accomplished safely within such a short period.
The court rejected both of those arguments, but the timetable for the boy’s return remains unclear following an appeals court ruling requiring him to remain in Brazil while an appeal filed by Lins e Silva challenging the June 1 ruling is resolved.
Bianchi divorced Goldman in Brazil and later married Lins e Silva. She died after giving birth to a daughter last year and Sean has remained in Brazil under the care of her parents and Lins e Silva.
During Wednesday’s hearing, an attorney for the party argued that Sean’s desires are to remain in Brazil with Lins e Silva and his maternal grandparents. That factor should override and carry more weight than the terms of the Hague Convention, he argued, because Sean is a Brazilian citizen born to a Brazilian mother who should be able to remain in the country if he so desires.
An attorney for Goldman later disputed assertions that Sean has expressed a desire to stay in Brazil. Even if that were true, he argued, such a desire would undoubtedly be clouded by the years apart from his father. Those circumstances, he argued, have created a feeling of alienation within Sean.
Keeping him from his father would serve to make the boy an orphan for a second
time, said attorney Ricardo Zamariola Jr.
The court also heard from the attorney representing Lins e Silva, who echoed the
argument that Sean’s wishes are to stay in Brazil. The attorney, Sergio Tostes,
said the court should follow the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Child, a convention which allows courts to consider the will of a child during an
international custody dispute.
The United States has not signed the U.N. convention amid concerns that its
terms would jeopardize the rights of parents.