BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR – YOU MAY NOT GET IT.

In Melvin v. Melvin, 2012-0526, the First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the assessment of costs against Mrs. Melvin. Until her lawsuit seeking sole custody of their two children, Mr. Melvin had been their primary physical custodian in a joint custody arrangement. Finding that Mrs. Melvin had no evidence to support her claims that she should be the children’s sole custodian even after three days of lay and expert testimony, the trial court assessed Mrs. Melvin with all of the costs including a $12,000 fee payable to the lawyer whom the court appointed to represent the children’s interests. In the heat of the moment, it is easy for litigants to forget that if they lose, they may be cast with the other party’s costs. This case is a good reminder that it is an important consideration when making a decision whether or not to try to change the status quo in a custody arrangement.