Quick Update: David Goldman’s Quest, Brazil Custody Case

In June I wrote about a case working its way through the Brazil courts in which an American father (David Goldman) seeks to regain custody of his son, Sean.   The boy has been living with Goldman’s wife’s family in Brazil for over five years.   Goldman’s wife had taken the child to Brazil in 2004 when the boy was four.   She later died.  Goldman sought return of the child, but the wife’s family objected.  

There’s a new decision by an intermediate appellate court affirming Goldman’s right to custody of the child.  While Goldman’s right to custody may seem fairly clear, the case has taken a long time to work its way through the Brazilian court and it isn’t done yet..   As this story recounts, it’s possible that the child will not be returned to the US any time soon while further appeals are taken.   And so more time passes. 

Time is precisely what makes this case difficult.  It seems probable that the more time passes, the harder it will be for the child to leave Brazil and return to his father in New Jersey.     Without casting any doubt on Goldman’s capacity as a parent and through no fault of his own, Goldman has seen his Sean extremely infrequently over the past five years.   He has not seen him at all since June.  

I would imagine that the child, now 10,  has a fairly settled routine in Brazil.   To take him away from all that he knows in order to rejoin his father will be difficult for him.   At the same time, one cannot allow the simple passage of time consumed by court proceedings to determine the outcome of the case.  That simply rewards the party who drags on appeals endlessly.   

I’m sure it would be best if the law were swift and sure and just in all cases.   But it is not, and that does make for hard cases.

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7 responses to “Quick Update: David Goldman’s Quest, Brazil Custody Case

  1. A friend of mine has her son living with her mother/son’s grandma because my friend has some problems, they have all reached a fluid situation. It’s a shame that this a tug-of-love case.

  2. The one obvious thing Mr. Goldman has going for him is that fact that his son carries his blood. If anything should happen to Sean he will need his father and the father’s family side for medical purposes.
    What is also puzzling is this man who refuses to let Sean go. There are other women in Brazil for one. Karma truly comes around, but Mr. Goldman’s wife was selfish. Based on what she did and what this man is trying to do. It is apparent to me that had Mrs. Goldman survived and had another baby Sean would have become a footnote to this man. He may have been put on a plane back to the US long ago. Two selfish people married one another and I will not speak ill of the dead, but I can’t imagine death during childbirth was easy and she paid the ultimate price for lying about a two week vacation that she had no intention of returning to the US or her husband.

  3. david goldman looks suspicious to us. why did his wife leave in the first place? He appears too goody-goody and seems to seek the attention the media gives him – like the hot air balloon guy and his kids.

  4. It seems clear to me that there is a great deal we do not know in this case, but that’s not really unusual. The motivations of the various players–here particularly the family in Brazil–are not widely known, if they are known at all. To me, the trick then is to try to think about the case without filling in that hole with speculation. If a person says Goldman seems suspcious, it seems to me it says as much about the speaker as it does about Goldman. Goldman could be acting from the very best of motives–he loves his son and wishes to raise him–or not. We just don’t know.

    I think another Brazillian judge might have ruled in Goldman’s favor this AM and it is possible the case will see some action before Christmas. I’ll try to pay attention.

  5. I am shocked that abductors Joao Paulo Lins Silva, Silvana Bianchi and family have been able to keep the child away from a dad who fought for years to reunite with his son. Being from rich legal family Silva took Brazilian laws a a long ride. I am very happy that on Christmas eve father and son are (re)united finally. The abductors need to be put in jail for such a heinous act. I am also shocked by how abductors paraded Sean in media while delivering him to his dad. I am also very proud of US government that it stood for justice by its citizens. How many countries would do that? The political and economic tools used for its ordinary citizen really helped to speed up the case. I hope remaining 65 kidnapped kids in Brazil are brought home soon.

  6. I’ve never been so happy for someone lately as I am for Mr. Goldman. I’m Brazilian and I’m elated. I wish Sean, Mr. Goldman, and his loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2010. Any doubt? There is nothing more beautiful than a reunited family.

  7. Meg K. Parmer

    I followed the Goldman story for some time, and I was extremely happy that David Goldman got his son back . . . and what a Christmas gift since Sean came home Christmas Eve.

    Would love to know how David and Sean are doing now that a couple months have passed.

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