SAO PAULO – The Brazilian family of a 9-year-old boy returned by court order to his U.S. father said Tuesday it will fight to regain custody.
Lawyers for the relatives of Sean Goldman said they will push forward with a request from his Brazilian grandmother to allow the boy to make his own wishes known in court.
The request was initially denied, but the Supreme Court has not issued a final ruling on that matter. The court does not convene until February.
Last week, a Supreme Court judge ordered Sean returned to his father, David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The two have since returned to the United States.
Just before delivering Sean to his dad last week, the Brazilian relatives said they would end a legal battle to keep the boy in Brazil. On Tuesday, however, their attorneys said the family was only obeying the judge's order, not stopping its legal fight.
"Sean's early delivery does not end the legal process," the lawyers said in a statement. "The legal process in Brazil is not over."
The lawyers said that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, the decision will be relayed to American authorities so the boy can be heard.
Goldman's lawyer in Brazil, Ricardo Zamariola Jr., did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Bianchi has always maintained that Sean wanted to stay in Brazil.
Goldman said in an interview aired Monday on NBC's "Today" show that the boy was happy in the U.S., but hadn't yet called him "Dad."
Just three days before Christmas and following a five-year custody battle, Supreme Court Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes lifted a stay on a federal court's ruling ordering Brazilian relatives to hand over the boy. Sean was reunited with his father on Christmas Eve and returned to the United States the same day.
Sean had lived in Brazil since 2004, when Goldman's ex-wife, Bruna Bianchi, brought him to her native country for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. She stayed, divorced Goldman and remarried, and Goldman, now 42, began legal efforts to get Sean back.
After Bianchi died last year in childbirth, her Brazilian husband, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, a prominent divorce attorney in Rio de Janeiro, won temporary custody. Despite numerous court findings in favor of Goldman, Lins e Silva was able numerous times to delay relinquishing custody.