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Michael Costantino
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Michael Costantino’s Answers

204 total


  • How can my husband adopt my 12 yr old son?

    My 12 yr old has not had any contact or received financial support from his biological father. My husband wants to adopt him and give him his last name. He has raised my son like a father and my son looks up to him and in his eyes my husband is hi...

    Michael’s Answer

    If he is on the Birth Certificate, he must consent. You really have to look at Florida Statue 63.062; I believe you will be required to get his consent. I would only point you directly to the Florida Statue 63.062, which states in paragraph (b) that the father must give consent, if:
    1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
    2. The minor is his child by adoption;
    3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed;
    4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; or
    5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required time-frames, and has complied with the requirements of subsection (2).

    However, if he has had no contact, and has paid no support, you can still attempt an adoption. I suggest you reach out to him and ask him to terminate his rights. If you have no idea where he is, then you should reach out to an attorney.

    I advise that you consult with a local attorney. Many of us give free consults. Some, like myself, offer weekend or evening hours. You can find many attorneys on this Website. Start by reviewing the attorney profiles. Look through the various attorneys that practice Family Law/Adoption and make some phone calls.

    Good Luck.

    See question 
  • My16 year old daughter in Florida no longer wants to live with her promiscuous mother who has 3 children from3 fathers. Can she

    Live with me based on the decision on her own that her mother is causing her mental distress her mother and I are both 46 years old her mother just had another baby with a third father he left her and now my daughter has been the mother while she...

    Michael’s Answer

    She is 16 years old. The Courts tend to recognize that you really can't tell a 16 year old what to do. If your daughter wants to stay with you, what would her mother do, have you held in contempt? You are not keeping the child from her. At this point, the child has made a decision on her own.

    You need to petition the court for modification of the final judgment. That’s making the assumption that you have a final judgment, that you had previously resolved these issues in Court.

    I advise that you consult with a local attorney. Many of us give free consults. Some, like myself, offer weekend or evening hours. You can find many attorneys on this Website. Start by reviewing the attorney profiles. Look through the various attorneys that practice Family Law/Paternity and make some phone calls.

    Good Luck

    See question 
  • Biological father not in birth certificate, my son not carries his last name, no child support. Can my fiancé adopt?

    I reside in Florida. The biological father of my son is not in the birth certificate only I am, and my son has my last name and not his biological fathers. He does not pay child support because I never needed it and because I did not want him to h...

    Michael’s Answer

    I disagree. You really have to look at Florida Statue 63.062; Just because he is the biological father does not give him instant rights. However, I don't know all the facts. I believe you will not be required to get his consent. I would only point you directly to the Florida Statue 63.062, which states in paragraph (b) that the father must give consent, if:
    1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
    2. The minor is his child by adoption;
    3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed;
    4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; or
    5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of subsection (2).

    Also look at Florida Statue 63.053 and 63.054 – just google them, they are not complicated.

    I advise that you consult with a local attorney. Many of us give free consults. Some, like myself, offer weekend or evening hours. You can find many attorneys on this Website. Start by reviewing the attorney profiles. Look through the various attorneys that practice Family Law/Adoption and make some phone calls.

    Good Luck.

    See question 
  • What actions should I take if the mother of my child is refusing to let me see the child?

    I live in Palm Beach County, Florida and I have a child out of wedlock. Paternity has not been officially established, but my name is on the birth certificate. A child support case has recently been opened against me. Previous to the opening of t...

    Michael’s Answer

    First and foremost, the Mother has all the rights to the child until you go to Court and ask for them. Florida Statute 744.301 states the mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise.

    The Mother of your child can pack her bag and move to Alaska, if she wants. The only way to stop the Mother of your child from moving or to have any other say so in the child’s life is to go to the Courthouse and file a Petition asking for those rights. I recommend that fathers establish their rights to their children as soon as possible. You can do this when the child is born, even if you are living with the mother.
    In addition, paternity can be established and child support awarded without the adjudication of rights to the Father. We see this all the time with Department of Revenue cases. The Department, on behalf of the mother, seeks child support from the father. This is usually done on the request of the mother or if the mother has sought some type of assistance which requires the state to go after the father for support. Without going into the child support calculation, most people know that the more time you spend with your child, the less your child support will be. However, this is not the case when dealing with the Department. You must have a valid time-sharing plan, ratified by the Court, to get credit for the time you spend with the child. So if the Department is coming after you for support, and you spend time with your child, you must file a petition in the courthouse, and have it served on the mother, not the Department, requesting your right to time-sharing with the child.

    You need to establish your rights to the child. You will have to file a petition to establish paternity and other related relief. The “other related relief” is the establishment of parental responsibility and a parenting plan. I have attached links that can provide more information. In your case you may have to file a separate case, other than the one that exists. Your child support case may be the Department of Revenue v. You. You can't counter-petition the Department for time-sharing rights.

    I advise that you consult with a local attorney. Many of us give free consults. Some, like myself, offer weekend or evening hours.

    See question 
  • Relocation of a child before the divorce is final

    My soon to be ex is asking for a relocation for my 2 year old to another state. I want to object to this relocation. How do I go about this? The divorce is not final - no agreement during court ordered mediation.

    Michael’s Answer

    Did your ex actually file a Petition for Relocation? Because simply just asking the Judge to relocate will not do it, or at least it should not do it. In order to move more than 50 miles from the address that either of you were living at the time of the filing of the Petition, a party must comply with Florida Statute 61.13001. That means the filing of a Petition to Relocate, with specific language. If he or she has done this then you need to file an answer. You really should talk to an attorney. You will find many here on AVVO. Give us a call, and perhaps sit down with one for a consultation.

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  • How can i take custody of my child from my mother?

    The mother of my child has terminated her rights, and my mother took custody of my child when he was born. I am now looking to get custody of my child.

    Michael’s Answer

    You need to establish your rights to the child. This is done by filing a petition in Circuit Court. When you say the mother terminated her rights, I am not sure what you are saying. Is there a Dependency action where they accused her of abandonment, abuse, or neglect, or did she just hand the child over to your mother? Either way, you have to petition the Court. First, talk to an attorney. You will find many here on AVVO. Give us a call, and perhaps sit down with one for a consultation.

    See question 
  • I got married in the state of New York a few years ago and I would like to know what is the right thing to do to get a divorce.

    No assets involved.

    Michael’s Answer

    You should contact an attorney in your area. Just because you were married in the state of New York does not preclude you from getting a divorce here in Florida. All that you need is to be a resident of the State of Florida for six months in order to get your divorce. Look for an attorney on this website that you may be comfortable with. Give one of us a call!

    See question 
  • Am I in contempt?

    I have a six year old daughter. Last year, her father became homeless and I filed an emergency motion for his time sharing to be suspended. I moved 46 miles away and notified him and court of address change (allowed Amy) his days were wed night an...

    Michael’s Answer

    The order, or judgment, is the Court’s direction to you. You should not disobey this order. However, you did make an affirmative move to try and address the issue with the Court, which is positive. I wouldn’t live in fear of the Court just yet. The father should have motion the Court a long time ago to have you held in contept. You would think that any reasonable man that wants to spend time with his child would do so, and use every measure to make sure it happens.

    What troubles me is why you won’t allow him to speak to the child, or you say she is afraid of him. The Court is going to want to know why. Unless this child has witness something, that you didn’t mention, that would cause her fear him, then the Court may see this as a ploy to alienate the child from the Father. If you’re afraid for her safety, you should not transfer it to her.

    The number 1 factor the Court use in determining what is in the best interest of the child for the purpose of establishing or modifying time-sharing is “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.”

    There used to be a Judge in Broward County that would routinely ask a mother what her number one responsibility was. They generally responded with “to keep my children safe.” He would then instruct her on what he believed her number one responsibility was, to make sure the child spends as much time with the father as possible. This is the mentality of the Court.

    I know this is not what you want to hear. I don’t tell my clients what they want to hear….I tell them what they need to hear. You should let her speak to her Father…if he is sober. If you are afraid that he is using drugs, permit him to see the child in a supervised environment.

    Good Luck.

    See question 
  • My daugther Mother wont let me sesweet child Only when i give her money what to do???

    Should i fail for joint custody.

    Michael’s Answer

    First and foremost, the Mother has all the rights to the child until you go to Court and ask for them. Florida Statute 744.301 states the mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise.

    The Mother of your child can pack her bag and move to Alaska, if she wants. The only way to stop the Mother of your child from moving or to have any other say so in the child’s life is to go to the Courthouse and file a Petition asking for those rights. I recommend that fathers establish their rights to their children as soon as possible. You can do this when the child is born, even if you are living with the mother.
    In addition, paternity can be established and child support awarded without the adjudication of rights to the Father. We see this all the time with Department of Revenue cases. The Department, on behalf of the mother, seeks child support from the father. This is usually done on the request of the mother or if the mother has sought some type of assistance which requires the state to go after the father for support. Without going into the child support calculation, most people know that the more time you spend with your child, the less your child support will be. However, this is not the case when dealing with the Department. You must have a valid time-sharing plan, ratified by the Court, to get credit for the time you spend with the child. So if the Department is coming after you for support, and you spend time with your child, you must file a petition in the courthouse, and have it served on the mother, not the Department, requesting your right to time-sharing with the child.

    You need to establish your rights to the child. You will have to file a petition to establish paternity and other related relief. The “other related relief” is the establishment of parental responsibility and a parenting plan.

    The petition can allege you believe the child is yours, but also request a DNA test to confirm.
    I advise that you consult with a local attorney. Many of us give free consults. Some, like myself, offer weekend or evening hours.

    See question 
  • Does my 15 year old child have a say in who she lives with?

    My daughter lives with her father in Florida; however, she wants to move to California and live with me and attend high school here. Her father is forbidding it. Would a judge take into account her wishes on where she wants to live?

    Michael’s Answer

    Yes, the Court will take into consideration your child's wishes, but not directly. Don't expect a conversation between the judge and the child, your child will not take the stand. If you file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of the Final Judgment the Court may order the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem. The Guardian will meet with the child, and others. This Guardian reports to the Court their opinion as to the best interest of the child.

    You should contact an attorney here in Florida, if that is where the divorce happened to give you more advice. Many of us give free consults. You can find many attorneys on this Website. Start by reviewing the attorney profiles. Look through the various attorneys that practice Family Law and make some phone calls.

    Good Luck

    See question