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Author Topic: I am an American citizen and married to a Brasilian man (who has just told me he wants a divorce and to soon travel with our daughter to Brasil).  (Read 20888 times)

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USAMom

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My husband and I are still married and live in the same house.  To my knowledge, he has not yet retained an attorney in order to obtain a divorce.  Our daughter is nearly 5 years old.  She has dual citizenship, both in the USA and Brasil. She had a Brasilian passport but it expired in 2008.  She has an American passport -- which I have custody of.

My husband has been here in the US for over 12 years.  He has a job that he is not ecstatic about.  He recently obtained a Bachelor's Degree here in the US, which I thought was very strange because he knows cannot move up in his present job.  He has -0- interest in moving (but he really does not like it here, in our state and in the US in general).  Therefore, he will be making student loan payments but without the opportunity to increase his income with a better job.

BUT I also know that a Bachelor's Degree from the US would translate into a good job for him in Brasil if he would move there, as he already has 2 advanced degrees he earned in Brasil.  Plus he would not have to worry about how to pay the student loans back.  He hurried his way through as quickly as he could, finishing 9 months earlier than expected.  I also thought that was odd, since he has no plans to change jobs and knows that his new degree will not help him in the least at his present employer.

My husband's father is a retired high-level federal judge in Brasil. He still retains much of the powers associated with his position.  ( In fact, my husband's entire family is in Brasil.

Recently, my husband advised me that his mother was diagnosed with cancer last November.  (Odd that I heard about it 3 months after the fact.) He also said that his grandfather was diagnosed with incurable cancer.  He then then advised me that he was planning to take our daughter with him on a visit there.  At the time, I'd barely heard about the Goldman case.  As my husband and I were arguing about the fact that he wanted to take her to Brasil without me, I said, "What would be your motivation to come back?" It then hit me that he, in fact, would not come back.  

He also took a large sum of money out of our bank account last fall, telling me that "It was HIS money and he did not need to ask permission to use it, or to tell me what he was doing with it".  

My husband's life in Brasil was very much like Bruna Goldman's.  When he visits there, the maid takes care of everything.  He does very little -- he does nothing, actually, except what he wants (which is very similar to his life here in the US, minus the maid. Or perhaps that was to be my role).  I know he misses his family and his life there.  He hates having a house here - home maintenance is not something he enjoys in the least.  Truthfully, I cannot think of one thing he enjoys about living in the US except the fact that our daughter is here.

I have contacted a Brasilian Consulate and was given email addresses for them all, so that I could advise them that I DO NOT give permission for:

1.  my daughter to travel to Brasil
2.  for any Brasilian passports to be issued in my daughter's name

If anyone has any further suggestions / advisements, I would greatly appreciate hearing them.  I would also appreciate hearing from those who have had similar experiences while being married to Brasilians, and what they did regarding their situation.  Maybe it would help me to realize I am not the only one either in this kind of situation, or who has dealt with this kind of situation.  

Sometimes I think I am crazy. He does a good job of making me feel like I am, and that I am waaaay too paranoid.  

Thanks for your time!

Offline SageDad

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That all sounds really bad..  The State Department has a page with advice to prevent an international abduction but, truth be told they are hard to prevent..

http://travel.state.gov/family/abduction/prevention/prevention_560.html

and there's probably not much there that will help.  Keep the passport in your posession.  I would not allow travel to Brazil, and most certainly not if you aren't going.  

Filing for custody, even shared custody is important.  My wife and I had no formal custody agreement prior to my son's abduction and the police just sat on their thumbs.  In NC, shared custody is implied if there is no formal agreement, but I still highly recommend a formal one, in addition to a formal court order that he can't leave the country with your daughter.  Reach out to the State Department and the NCMEC and see if they can add your husband's and daughter's information to some sort of no-flight list (I have no idea if such a thing exists but it should).  Also keep in mind that there are basically no exit controls whatsoever at terrestial borders.  All he needs is a copy of your daughters birth certificate to cross into Mexico by land.  That's right, not even a passport.  There are many others, a couple right on these forums, that knew their partners were going to abduct to Brazil, or another country, and warned the courts and police and they did nothing.

The one good thing I can say for you though is that, as a mother, you will have a huge advantage over the many father's on this forum trying to have their children returned, both from US and Brazilian officials.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Rumi

USAMom

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Carlos,

Thank you so very much for responding!

If he were to get a copy of her birth certificate and go into Mexico, could he then get on a plane with her and travel overseas? I have her birth certificate but as you know, they are extremely easy to obtain. He does not also need her passport in Mexico to travel by plane to another country? It seems unbelievable to me.  I thought that one parent had to have proper authority from the other parent to travel with their children and that airlines could be held responsible for not requiring such authority, but maybe that is here in the states.  I have her American passport and her Brasilian passport has expired.  It scares me to think that he might be able to get her on a plane without her passport. .

I surely would like to know this, as my husband travels to Mexico for work and does speak some Spanish.  It would be a perfect choice for him if he thought he could somehow get her from Mexico to Brasil.

Funny enough, he mentioned that his family would like to meet us in Mexico this year for a vacation.  At the time I thought it was odd and told him that Disney World sounded much better.  (My daughter and I went there last year but of course my husband did not, because it did not interest him.)  Of course he said no to Disney. Now I am wondering if he chose Mexico in order to get her out of this country with my consent.

It sounds like there is NOTHING a parent can do to stop this from happening, which is absolutely unbelievable.  I feel so sorry for those who have experienced this firsthand.  I am grateful that I can at least try my hardest to keep it from happening to my daughter.

Offline Grace

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Dear USAMom:
 
It's a shame that couples cannot get into agreement TOGETHER about where they are going to live. He should be making plans with you, asking you how you would like to live there too. It's a shame when people are only thinking of themselves.
 
My question to you is: do you have any idea whether he is on this site? Does he know about David's case?
 I am all for shared/joint custody. So in your case, if your husband wants to have maids making his bed, he can go back to Brazil and make enough money with all his degrees and come visit his daughter whenever he wants to.
 
He is the one wanting to go back, so you don't want to go with him and the marriage is over, you are the one who should keep the child most of the time. I am sorry, I read your post too quickly at work. Now I see he has already asked for divorce, so you do have a lit of reason to panic. Follow the advice here on how to keep him from running away with your daughter.
 
Do not let him travel to Brazil with her on vacation until this is cleared. Even if he goes to the airport with her, he won't be able to get on the plane without the authorization.
 
Talk to him, communicate. Express how you both feel and see what would be the best for your daughter. If you two decide to separate, a system where you and him can share her custody, even in different countries, can work. Common sense should be used, not revenge.
 
We are all here to help you. I cannot help you with legal advice though, just the perspective of another Brazilian living in America permanently.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 12:02:52 AM by Grace »

Offline momof2

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USAmom, I know we can't live in fear, but I would be keeping a very close eye on my daughter. Please let us know if we can help in anyway.
:) Momof2

USAMom

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Hi Grace,

Thank you so much for responding.  I appreciate it so much.

I highly doubt that my husband is on this site.  Finding it and then logging in would take way too much effort on his part.

 He does know about David's case.  When I first heard about it, I sent him the link.  I've watched the Dateline episode and also saw him on Larry King Live, but my husband will not give any credence to the Goldman situation.  His explanation is: "This happens in the US all the time. People bring their kids here illegally just like they do in Brasil, and no one does anything about it here either."

I don't believe that is true for a second.  

He lived here in this state when we met. There was no talk of moving -- and definitely not to Brasil.  He has never wanted me to learn the language or even feel at home there when we visited.  I've been there twice and both times was left on my own.  During our last visit, I took 10 books and 30+ magazines - and read them all in less than two weeks.  No one translates for me ...I am 100% out of the loop whenever we've been there.  He tells me that it is his vacation and he will not be bothered with translating.

One thing I know for sure.  If my daughter ends up in Brasil for any reason, I will never see her again.  My father in law would see to that.  This is why I am being proactive now.  

I know that life is good in Brasil for people with money.  My husband's family has a very good life - big houses, plenty of money, servants etc.  But I have -0- interest in moving to Brasil.  If he wants to move there, he can, but based upon what I've seen with the Goldman case, my daughter won't be going to Brasil again for a very long time.

Offline lisacallenwood

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You're NOT being "paranoid" and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. As I've gotten older I've learned to LISTEN to that gut instinct - its there for a reason.
 
On another note, I've traveled out of the country with an unrelated minors (children's friends) 2 times in the past 2 years. On both occasions, no notorized permission-related documents were requested until returning BACK to the U.S. I found that odd.
 
Please be very careful with your daughter.

Offline momofthree

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Just don't sign the authorization for him to take her out of the country until you have had a chance to speak to a lawyer and have started the divorce/custody process (if that is what you want).
I wouldn't wait around to see what his next move is...
Godd luck!!

USAMom

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Lisa,

Thank you so much for responding.

What you mentioned  is what I am most worried about.  I keep being told that a "notarized document" is required, but who knows if the airline would actually get around to asking for it?  Is the US the only country that actually holds parents accountable for doing stuff like this?

And certainly, it sounds like Mexico might be a better option than here in the states.  Someone suggested that I call immigration and also the state department.  I don't want to go overboard, but this is my daughter.

I think the same way you do about gut instincts.  I would never forgive myself if I didn't listen to mine and my daughter was taken from me.

USAMom

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Quote from: momof2;13960
USAmom, I know we can't live in fear, but I would be keeping a very close eye on my daughter. Please let us know if we can help in anyway.

I hate living in fear, but that fear keeps my attention.  My daughter should not become a statistic because I failed to act.

I appreciate your response so much.  This is completely unchartered territory for me.  It helps so much to hear the opinions of others.

Offline roger

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Quote from: USAMom;13939
My husband and I are still married and live in the same house. To my knowledge, he has not yet retained an attorney in order to obtain a divorce. Our daughter is nearly 5 years old. She has dual citizenship, both in the USA and Brasil. She had a Brasilian passport but it expired in 2008. She has an American passport -- which I have custody of.
 
My husband has been here in the US for over 12 years. He has a job that he is not ecstatic about. He recently obtained a Bachelor's Degree here in the US, which I thought was very strange because he knows cannot move up in his present job. He has -0- interest in moving (but he really does not like it here, in our state and in the US in general). Therefore, he will be making student loan payments but without the opportunity to increase his income with a better job.
 
BUT I also know that a Bachelor's Degree from the US would translate into a good job for him in Brasil if he would move there, as he already has 2 advanced degrees he earned in Brasil. Plus he would not have to worry about how to pay the student loans back. He hurried his way through as quickly as he could, finishing 9 months earlier than expected. I also thought that was odd, since he has no plans to change jobs and knows that his new degree will not help him in the least at his present employer.
 
My husband's father is a retired high-level federal judge in Brasil. He still retains much of the powers associated with his position. ( In fact, my husband's entire family is in Brasil.
 
Recently, my husband advised me that his mother was diagnosed with cancer last November. (Odd that I heard about it 3 months after the fact.) He also said that his grandfather was diagnosed with incurable cancer. He then then advised me that he was planning to take our daughter with him on a visit there. At the time, I'd barely heard about the Goldman case. As my husband and I were arguing about the fact that he wanted to take her to Brasil without me, I said, "What would be your motivation to come back?" It then hit me that he, in fact, would not come back.
 
He also took a large sum of money out of our bank account last fall, telling me that "It was HIS money and he did not need to ask permission to use it, or to tell me what he was doing with it".
 
My husband's life in Brasil was very much like Bruna Goldman's. When he visits there, the maid takes care of everything. He does very little -- he does nothing, actually, except what he wants (which is very similar to his life here in the US, minus the maid. Or perhaps that was to be my role). I know he misses his family and his life there. He hates having a house here - home maintenance is not something he enjoys in the least. Truthfully, I cannot think of one thing he enjoys about living in the US except the fact that our daughter is here.
 
I have contacted a Brasilian Consulate and was given email addresses for them all, so that I could advise them that I DO NOT give permission for:
 
1. my daughter to travel to Brasil
2. for any Brasilian passports to be issued in my daughter's name
 
If anyone has any further suggestions / advisements, I would greatly appreciate hearing them. I would also appreciate hearing from those who have had similar experiences while being married to Brasilians, and what they did regarding their situation. Maybe it would help me to realize I am not the only one either in this kind of situation, or who has dealt with this kind of situation.
 
Sometimes I think I am crazy. He does a good job of making me feel like I am, and that I am waaaay too paranoid.
 
Thanks for your time!

I think you should retain immediate legal counsel in the U.S. to get a proper divorce and visitation arrangement for him to come to the U.S. visit your daughter.
 
In the meantime, your legal counsel may suggest a court order in the U.S. forbidding him to take your kid outside the U.S. (he would not be able to get on a plane with her or drive anywhere out of the country, no matter what).
 
Once the kid leaves the U.S. it will be a tough battle to get her back to you, as you have learned here.
 
Good luck!

USAMom

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Quote from: momofthree;13971
Just don't sign the authorization for him to take her out of the country until you have had a chance to speak to a lawyer and have started the divorce/custody process (if that is what you want).
I wouldn't wait around to see what his next move is...
Godd luck!!

It sounds like the docs aren't required in some situations.  How scary is that? I am trying to cover all the bases but it seems as if some are left unprotected no matter what is done.

I can definitely say that I will never give that authorization.  It only takes once and I absolutely believe  that if he would get the chance to take my daughter to Brasil on "vacation", she would NEVER return.

Offline liesl78

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USA Mom:
 
You said her Brazilian passport is expired? Then he won't be able to get her into Brazil without it and he needs your authorization to have a passport issued for her.
 
The Brazilian consulate won't give her a visa either, since she is a dual citizen.
 
I don't think you're paranoid at all, I think you're being SMART to read between the lines and try to prevent this from happening.
Liesl78
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Offline riceandbeans

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Quote from: USAMom;13973
...I keep being told that a "notarized document" is required...

Other than the passport, no document is required to leave the US with children. The travel document issued by the Brazilian consulate is required by the Federal Police in Brazil before boarding the plane back to the US if the child holds a Brazilian passport and is accompanied by only one parent.

Offline roger

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Quote from: USAMom;13977
It sounds like the docs aren't required in some situations. How scary is that? I am trying to cover all the bases but it seems as if some are left unprotected no matter what is done.
 
I can definitely say that I will never give that authorization. It only takes once and I absolutely believe that if he would get the chance to take my daughter to Brasil on "vacation", she would NEVER return.

It is not a matter of "never giving that authorization".
 
It is a matter of letting all immigration authorities know that YOU DO NOT AUTHORIZE HIM TO TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER, AND WRITE WHATEVER PIECE OF PAPER IS REQUIRED TO MAKE THIS LEGALLY EFFECTIVE AND BINDING ON THESE AUTHORITIES.
 
In other words: instead of NOT SIGNING, I suggest you SIGN STUFF after seeking legal counsel immediately.
 
Do not think for a second you'll stay on the top of the game by waiting his next move and not signing papers.
 
I'm sorry, but the only way to control the proceedings is being actively involved, take action to find out what paperwork is required, instead of sitting around watching your daughter's every step or trying to guess your husband's next move.
 
I'm sorry to say it, but he already told you his next move, and then drew money out of the bank to pursue it.
 
This may be very tough to accept it, but it seems you're still in denial.
 
A family law attorney is the proper professional to let your mind free to go through all those phases of mourning the end of the relationship without jeopardizing your rights to custody and assets.
 
Do not trust Brazilian authorities to intervene if he gets to Brazil with his daughter using her U.S. passport that you currently hold. These authorities don't care about complying with the Hague Convention. Not even if you go to court. David's case if 4.5 years old. What are you waiting for, really?