Photo: Undated photo of David Goldman with son, Sean.
The court ruled the boy must stay in Brazil while it considers a request for the child to testify in the case, which has dragged on for five years.
The ruling came just hours after David Goldman arrived in Rio de Janeiro hoping to bring his son back to New Jersey in time for Christmas.
Photo: Sean Goldman as a young boy with his father, David Goldman
Thursday's ruling by Justice Marco Aurelio Mello means the boy will be in Brazil until after the justices return from a recess, February 1. The decision suspends a Wednesday judgment by a lower court ordering that David Goldman be given custody of his son, Sean.
The case began in 2004 when Goldman's wife, Bruna Bianchi, took the 4-year-old Sean to her native Brazil.
Photo: Sean Goldman at age 8
Goldman says it was to be a two-week vacation. But she stayed and so did the boy. She eventually obtained a Brazilian divorce from Goldman and remarried.
Goldman was already seeking his son's return under an international treaty that covers cross-border child abductions when his former wife died last year while giving birth to a daughter.
Her death generated more interest in the case, which has been discussed this year by top-level diplomats in Washington and the Brazilian capital, Brasilia. It also has been the subject of congressional hearings in the U.S. and has prompted protests in both countries.
Goldman and Sean were reunited last February for the first time since his son was taken to Brazil. They have not seen each other since June.
PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
December 17, 2009 - David Goldman Fights Brazilian Court for Abducted Son and Wins; Will Sean Be Home for Holidays?
June 30, 2009 - Boy Must Stay in Brazil For Now, Judge Rules
June 3, 2009 - Not So Fast: Brazilian Court Keeps American Dad From Son
June 2, 2009 - Father Battles For Son And Wins