A judge in Monmouth County refused to force a father to allow his former-in-laws to visit his 10-year-old son. The grandparents of the Tinton Falls boy illegally kept the boy in Brazil for 4 years, an action that the judge described as “contemptible.” The judge also said that the grandparents had tried to undermine the father-son relationship for years.
This is the latest development in an ongoing international child custody battle between the New Jersey father and the boy’s Brazilian maternal grandparents. The father’s wife divorced him in 2007, remarried, and then died in childbirth the next year. A Brazilian court then awarded custody of the boy to the wife’s new husband because he claimed that the father abandoned his son.
The Monmouth County judge said that the abandonment accusations were beyond “all possible bounds of decency,” and that it was “difficult to conceive of a more dramatic example of emotional abuse of a young child,” the Star-Ledger reported.
The boy returned to the United States in December of 2009 under orders from the Brazilian Supreme Court. The grandparents then filed a complaint for immediate visitation.
Talks between the father and the grandparents broke down then the grandparents refused to drop custody litigation in Brazil as a precondition for visitation rights. The Monmouth County judge said that the father’s request was reasonable because of the harm the grandparents allegedly inflicted on the boy by alienating him from his father.
An attorney for the grandparents said that the grandparents loved and cared for their grandson and that the judge’s decision was “hurtful and unfair.”
Source: The Star-Ledger, “Judge will not grant court order allowing Brazilian couple to visit N.J. grandson,” MaryAnn Spoto, 2/28/11