Sean Goldman

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I was just reading today on the updates on a custody case between a biological American dad and a Brazilian step dad.  In the middle is a nine year old child named Sean.

Quickly, the story is, American man marries Brazilian woman in New Jersey and have a son, Sean.  Brazilian woman takes son to Brazil for a vacation.  Once there Brazilian woman calls American dad and tells him she’s not coming back.  American dad goes to a New Jersey court and gets full custody.  Brazilian Woman goes to court in Brazil and gets custody.

Brazilian woman marries another man, Brazilian this time.  Brazilian woman gets pregnant but dies during child birth.  Now Brazilian stepdad does not want to return Sean to American dad because he says he loves the boy like his own son.  The Brazilian woman’s family also does not want to return the boy.  In the meantime the 9-year old is being pulled in all different directions.

What a drama!  Everyone loves and wants to keep this boy for their own reasons but I do think Sean needs to be returned to his American father. 

Sean has been living away from his dad since 2004 in a very privileged home environment in Brazil but something must feel amiss to him; his mom is now gone and his dad, who by all accounts had a loving relationship with him, is not in his life. 

I’m sure Sean’s stepdad loves him but so does his real father, David Goldman.  The courts say the parents don’t really matter as much as what is best for a child.  But truthfully in this case who knows what is best for Sean Goldman? 

My suggestion would be to return Sean to David and give them a chance to have a relationship and if in a couple of years from now Sean is unhappy and wanted to return to Brazil, he then should be allowed to do so.

Bruna the mother, made a mistake by kidnapping Sean from his father.  At that point in time she was thinking about what made more sense to her, not what made more sense to Sean.  Why are the courts so reticence in rectifying a mistake done by a woman who was in search of her own happiness in spite of how that would affect her son?

Why is that the stepfather believes that his love for Sean should trumped a stolen relationship?

  • Winsor Pilates


2 Responses to “Sean Goldman”
  1. deborah calla says:

    Thanks for posting a very clear and informative explanation of Judge Pinto’s decision. I know eventually Sean will be returned to his father as there are no legal basis to keep this child in Brazil. Unfortunately, in the meantime two families but mostly a child is paying the price.

  2. Judge Pinto’s decisions in June 2009 were correct. Hopefully, the Brazilian Court will act promptly to order the return of Sean to his father.

    Among other important rulings, Judge Pinto said that, in fact, there was now a second abduction (the second by the step-father who had no legal right to keep Sean after Bruna died). Lins e Silva will not be allowed to use the defense that Sean is “adapted to Brazil” and he cannot claim that Sean’s “habitual residence” was Brazil at the time of the second abduction (wrongful detention). Upon the death of his mother, the right to custody of Sean as a matter of law — Brazilian law, no less — passed to his biological surviving parent, David Goldman. Since Goldman filed his second petition for return under the Hague Convention only 35 days after Bruna’s death, the defense of adaptation to the new environment won’t be accepted.

    To quote Judge Pinto:

    “In other words, and thinking in theory, it is not reasonable – indeed, it reaches the level of surrealism – to admit that a given person, devoid of familial power upon the minor – a third party -, objects to the delivery of the child to the father or the mother, or both, under the basis that the child is integrated into their new environment.

    “To admit this possibility means to open dangerous gaps capable of constituting real absurdities. And the absurd, as is well known, cannot find refuge in the Judiciary.”

    Judge Pinto then gave an example . . . theater of the absurd . . . stranger kidnaps child, raises child as his own, gets married, now the child has a “father” and a “mother” . . . and later “siblings.” Can anyone reasonably believe that the law would reward the kidnapper by refusing to return the child to his lawful parents (who have tracked him down) on the claim that the child is “adapted to Brazil?”

    “Of course not!” (His exclamation mark) Judge Pinto said that it would be convenient for the court to leave the decision to Sean, but that doing so would be irresponsible and cowardly.

    Explaining the difficulty in reunification, Judge Pinto discusses how Lins e Silva thwarted the court-ordered visitation by not being present when in October 2008 he was to allow David Goldman to see Sean and how later Lins e Silva placed restrictions on the visitation that were not in the court’s order (confinement to the grounds, a supervisor within feet of David and Sean, for example).

    My entire summary of Judge Pinto’s June Decisions may be read here:

    Other articles about David and Sean Goldman on my Blog may be accessed here:

    Jeanne M. Hannah