David Goldman seemed very close to see the end of his ordeal. In 2004, his son Sean, then four, was abducted by his late ex-wife,
Bruna, a Brazilian citizen. Everything started with a simple, innocuous family trip to Brazil. Then, while in Brazil, Bruna, David Goldman’s wife, showed no intention to come back to New Jersey, where the couple lived. If David wants to see his kid, he will have to a grant Bruna sole custody of Sean. Bruna would then get a divorce in Brazil from David Goldman, remarry with a prominent lawyer and work the Brazilian family court system to remove Goldman’s name from Sean’s birth record. She died in childbirth last month. In the meantime, David Goldman went to court in New Jersey, got a court order for a custody hearing. The kid should be returned to his father during the custody hearing. But the Brazilian court waited a year to respond to New Jersey court and finally decided that Sean could stay in Brazil. End of the story? Nope. Brazil is a signatary of the Hague abduction convention, the Obama administration brings the case to the attention of the Brazilian authorities. A Brazilian federal judge ordered the boy to be turned to his father. Last wednesday, the boy had to be turn to the American Consulate in Rio but on Tuesday, the Brazilian Supreme court suspended the order at the request of the Progressive Party, which argued that the Sean return to the US was unconstitutional. The Brazilian Supreme Court is now to take up the case.
David Goldman’s ordeal is heartbreaking and one can only hope that he will soon be reunited with his son. What spoils it though is the clamor of the new knight of the fight against child abduction, Chris Smith, Republican Representative of New Jersey, who bashes at the Brazilian government for not respecting an international convention. Chris Smith clearly needs to be introduced to the club of fathers who have been deprived from the right to see their kids, here, in New Jersey or in the U.S. More often, family courts granted sole custody to the mother and the non-custodial fathers saw their rights to see their kids curtailed or annihilated. Unlike David Goldman, the rights of these fathers are not protected by an international convention against child abduction, and the media splendidly ignore them. When have we heard Chris Smith talking about father rights in the State of New Jersey?