hot-topic rightA ruling late yesterday by Brazil’s top jurist appeared to put Tinton Falls resident David Goldman within legal reach of the son he has been trying to repatriate in a high-profile custody battle, according to news reports this morning.

The Associated Press news service says that Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes ruled David Goldman’s 9-year-old son, Sean, must be delivered to him by the boy’s Brazilian relatives, as a federal court ordered last week. But the time frame for the handover was not clear, the AP says.

The ruling was immediately binding, Goldman’s American lawyer, Patricia E. Apy of Red Bank, told the New York Times.

But relatives of Goldman’s ex-wife, Bruna, who died last year, were exploring legal options that would enable them to keep Sean, the family’s legal adviser told the Times.

Lawyers on both sides have said previously that there was still a chance for the Brazilian family to appeal to Brazil’s highest appeals court.

Goldman declined to comment until he learned more details about the 50-page ruling. But the AP says that Congressman Chris Smith, who was with Goldman in Brazil when the news broke, was pleased:

“He was elated, a big smile came to his face, but he said ‘I’m not going to let my guard down until it’s wheels up,” Smith said, according to the AP.