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New Jersey dad’s Brazilian in-laws keep fighting

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on December 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm

If the grandparents from Brazil do show up in the United States (they never will) one can only hope that the US government and the FBI takes a lead role in the prosecution of violations of US Code against family kidnappings and conspiracy to kidnap that “protective parents” deserve.

New Jersey dad’s Brazilian in-laws keep fighting

by Terry Hurlbut

In a development that practically no one saw coming, the Brazilian family of Sean Goldman, the boy who had been the center of a five-year international dispute arising out of the Hague Convention, has reneged on their earlier declaration of surrender and now says that they will continue their fight to have the boy become a permanent resident of Brazil. But exactly what recourse remains to them under international law remained far from clear.

// // Silvana Bianchi, the mother of Bruna Bianchi, who brought her son to Brazil five years ago for a “two-week vacation” that never ended, announced today, through her attorneys, that she will continue to sue for permanent custody of Sean Goldman, their previous declaration of surrender notwithstanding, according to the Associated Press. Last week, after the Chief Justice of Brazil ordered the boy returned to his father, Bianchi wrote a desperate letter to the President of Brazil, asking him to intervene personally and reminding him that grandparents often assume custody of minor children whose parents have died.

Today Bianchi asked the Supreme Court of Brazil to allow Sean to testify in a Brazilian court as to his wishes and desires regarding which family he would prefer to live with. The Supreme Court denied that request, but the full Court has not heard the matter, because it is in recess. The full Court will reconvene in February of 2010.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions does state that an abducted child–that is, one taken from one country to another without the permission of the custodial parent in the country of origin–may object to a return to country of origin, and make that objection known in open court, if he is old and mature enough to give such evidence. Most international legal experts say that a child younger than the age of twelve is, by definition, not old enough within the meaning of the Hague Convention. Sean Goldman is nine years old.

More curiously still, Sean Goldman has now returned to the United States and, by this account on ABC-TV, is happy to be on American soil and in fact gives every sign of remembering the original family home from which he had been abducted, and even the family pet cat. (David Goldman, his father, had not moved in the interim.) The only sour note is that the boy has not yet taken to addressing his father as “Dad,” but that might still come.

Thus the Bianchi family is in the curious position of attempting to have a formerly abducted and now-returned child repatriated from the country of origin to the country of destination, a thing for which virtually no precedent exists in international law. Even if the Supreme Court of Brazil rules in Bianchi’s favor, an American court, and especially a New Jersey court, would have to rule on the applicability of such an order, and particularly on what power a foreign court would have to compel an American lawful resident, now on American soil, to appear before it.

Goldman’s attorney, Patricia Apy, said that the continued legal wrangling might affect what rights the Bianchis have to visit with the boy. As of this moment, no member of the Brazilian family has many any specific request to visit with Sean in the United States.

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via New Jersey dad’s Brazilian in-laws keep fighting.

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House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on December 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

House Divided: Hate Thy Father

In 1978, after Cathy Mannis and her future husband moved into the same cooperative at U.C. Berkeley, they ran into each other often. She was not immediately smitten. “I detested him at first, and I should have stayed with that feeling,” recalls Cathy Mannis of her now ex-husband. “He was overweight and always very critical. Then he lost weight, became cuter, and started paying attention to me. He was going to be a doctor and he seemed so trustworthy; he said he would never desert his family as his own father had done to him.” They started dating, and she ultimately cared for him enough to marry him. “I thought he’d be a good father, and I was dying to be a mother. I thought we’d have a good life.”

She worked full-time as a legal secretary to put him through medical school. She also bought the two of them a town house with money she’d saved before marriage. When she gave birth to a boy, Matt (not his real name), she was as happy as she’d ever been. Over time, she saw signs that her husband was cheating on her, but she always forgave him.

Their second son, Robby, was born autistic, and things went downhill fast. The boy had speech and learning problems and was frequently out of control. Her husband was appalled. “He’s dumber than a fish,” he said.

Still, they had one more child, Harry (the name has been changed), hoping to give Matt a sibling without Robby’s problems. Harry turned out normal, but he bonded most closely with Robby; they became inseparable.

When Cathy once again became convinced her husband was cheating—he inexplicably never came home one night—she finally threw him out. He filed for divorce before she could forgive him again.

Cathy was granted primary custody of the kids, and her ex soon married the woman he’d been seeing on the side. Because of all she had to do to help Robby as well as her other two kids, Cathy could no longer hold a full-time job. Meanwhile, her ex declared two bankruptcies and, at one point, even mental disability, all of which kept alimony payments to a trickle.

Eventually Cathy was so broke that her electricity was turned off; she and the boys ate dinner by candlelight. Then she became so ill she had to be hospitalized for life-threatening surgery. She had no choice but to leave the kids with her ex. “He promised to return them when my health and finances improved,” she says.

That was almost seven years ago. Her health has long since returned and she has a good job she can do from home, but the only child ever restored to her, despite nonstop court battles, was Robby. In fact, her ex got the courts to rule that the children should be permanently separated, leaving the other two children with him, since Robby was a “threat” to his younger brother’s well-being.

Through all those years, Cathy says she faced a campaign of systematic alienation from Matt and Harry. “When I called to speak to them, I was usually greeted with coldness or anger, and often the boys weren’t brought to the phone. Then my ex sent letters warning me not to call them at home at all. Whenever the kids came to stay with me, they’d report, ‘Dad says you’re evil. He says you wrecked the marriage.’ ” Then he moved thousands of miles away, making it vastly more difficult for her to see her children.

As time has passed, the boys have increasingly pulled away. Matt, now grown and serving in the military, never speaks to Cathy. Thirteen-year-old Harry used to say, “Mommy, why can’t I stay with you? All the other kids I know live with their moms,” before leaving visits with her. Now he often appears detached from her and uninterested in Robby, whom he once adored. His friends at his new home think his stepmother is his mom, because that’s how she introduces herself. “She told me she would take my kids, and she did. The alienation is complete,” rues Cathy. “All I ever wanted was to be a mom.”

Divorcing parents have long bashed each other in hopes of winning points with kids. But today, the strategy of blame encompasses a psychological concept of parental alienation that is increasingly used—and misused—in the courts.

On the one hand, with so many contentious divorces, parents like Cathy Mannis have been tragically alienated from the children they love. On the other hand, parental alienation has been seized as a strategic tool in custody fights, its effects exploited in the courtroom, often to the detriment of loving parents protecting children from true neglect or abuse. With the impact of alienation so devastating—and false accusations so prevalent—it may take a judge with the wisdom of Solomon to differentiate between the two faces of alienation: a truly toxic parent and his or her victimized children versus manipulation of the legal system to claim damage where none exists.

A Symptom Of Our Time?

Disturbed by the potential for alienation, many divorce courts have today instituted aggressive steps to intervene where they once just stood by. And with good reason: Alienation is ruinous to all involved. “In pathological or irrational alienation, the parent has done nothing to deserve that level of hatred or rejection from the child,” explains University of Texas psychologist Richard Warshak, author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex. “It often seems to happen almost overnight, and neither the rejected parent nor even the rejecting child understands why.”

Often, in fact, it’s the emotionally healthier parent who gets rejected, Warshak adds. That parent tends to understand that it’s not in the child’s best interests to lose the other parent. In contrast, the alienating parent craves revenge against the ex—then uses the child to exact that punishment. “It’s a form of abuse,” Warshak says. “Both parent and child are victims.”

House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today.