The intent of Protective Orders is to protect abused spouses and children. Oftentimes, there is a race to the courthouse in an attempt to be granted temporary custody of the parties’ children. It is a well known secret that temporary orders have a habit of becoming permanent orders in divorce and paternity cases. Courts are very much inclined to keep the status quo during child custody hearings.
While there are many cases of abused spouses that are in desperate need of protective orders, they often serve a purpose. Oftentimes, Protective Orders are used in a mere attempt to be granted possession of the house and/or custody of the children. Courts are becoming more and more liberal in their standards of granting protective orders. In a recent case, a Protective Order was granted when one spouse knocked over a Christmas Tree which caused a nearby shelf to land on the other spouse. The court stated it was obvious the parties needed to be separated and granted the protective order. As a result, the spouse that had the shelf land on her was granted temporary custody of the kids and possession of the home. Is this right or have we gone to far?