Judge: U.S. Boy in Custody Fight Must Stay With Brazilian Stepfather Until Final Ruling
SAO PAULO – A federal judge has ruled that a 9-year-old boy at the center of an international custody battle must remain with his Brazilian stepfather until a final ruling is issued on the boy's permanent custody, local news media reported Saturday.
The ruling would overturn a separate judge's order earlier this month that Sean's biological father, U.S. citizen David Goldman, should have custody of his son six days a week whenever Goldman is in Brazil.
No one answered calls by The Associated Press to Goldman's Brazilian attorney and to the lawyer representing the stepfather.
In 2004, Sean's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took him for a vacation to her native Brazil and never returned. She later married Rio de Janeiro lawyer Joao Paulo Lins e Silva and died last year giving birth to a daughter.
The boy is now living with Lins e Silva, who wants to retain custody.
Goldman, who lives in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, has been seeking custody of Sean under the Hague Convention on international child abductions, which requires that participating countries return abducted or wrongfully retained children to the country of their "habitual residence."
A lower court in Brazil ruled earlier this month that Sean be returned to the United States, but the decision was suspended by a Brazilian Supreme Court justice based on a petition filed by a political party, which argued that removing Sean from his current family environment would hurt him.
On June 10, the Supreme Court issued yet a third ruling, that the decision on the boy's fate must be made by a federal court. It's not clear when that ruling may come.