In the latest development in the ongoing international custody saga that has garnered the world’s attention and involvement from the Obama Administration, the Brazilian Supreme Court has ordered the return of 9-year old Sean Goldman to the United States.  The Court specifically concluded that the child was to be given a say in whether he stays or returns to the United states with his father, David Goldman, a New Jersey resident.  This a few days after a federal appeals court ruled that the child must be returned to Mr. Goldman and also after a judge on the Supreme Court had then stayed the child’s return.

For those not familiar with this years-long story that began dominating headlines and political attention within recent months, Mr. Goldman has been fighting to obtain Sean’s return since 2004, at which time his former wife took Sean on what she indicated was a vacation to her native Brazil.  While in Brazil, the wife then divorced Mr. Goldman, stayed in Brazil and remarried, only to pass away in 2008 during child birth. 

Mr. Goldman deemed the act one of international child abduction and the United States has indicated that Brazil has failed to abide by the Hague Abduction Convention designed to address such international custody issues.   It was initially in 2004 that a New Jersey Superior Court held that the former wife’s taking and keeping of Sean in Brazil was wrongful.  In 2005, a Brazilian court concluded that, while the former wife’s actions were illegal under New Jersey law, the Hague treaty set forth that Sean could remain in Brazil if it could be established that he was settled there.

Earlier this year in June, a similar scenario unfolded where the Brazilian Supreme Court stayed the order of a federal judge to return Sean to Mr. Goldman.  Considering that Sean is only 9 years old, the Brazilian Supreme Court’s decision to place such weight on where the boy wants to live is intriguing, only further heightening the attention associated with this matter.  News reports are indicating that the family in Brazil has and will file several more applications to delay the child’s return yet again.  Stay tuned for further updates on this blog as they unfold.

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