Throwing Protective Orders At Each Other
The protective order exists to help protect a spouse, partner, or child from threats or actual physical and emotional harm. It's called domestic violence and abuse, and it's a very real threat to many people. But sometimes, especially in emotional and turbulent divorce and custody cases, where spouses or partners are fighting over money and property and worried about who gets the kids, protective orders become a sort of "leverage" used by one party to gain advantage over the other.
Donna Engle, writing for the Carroll County Times, describes a case in which the Baltimore City judge wasn't buying it. Both the husband and wife, embroiled in a custody dispute, and having had a troubled marriage throughout its existence, threw protective orders at each other, hoping they would stick. Both were denied.
The judge said that each parent had their own "individual flaws," but that he'd also observed their ability to resolve issues related to their son, and that they were good parents to him. Engle quotes the judge: "As far as [the child] is concerned, he gets the best of both of you."
In so ruling, the judge awarded joint custody, and, as Engle points out, this was done on the basis of what's in the best interest of the child. That's always the standard on which these decisions are made.
Even if the parents can't get along.
Source: Legal Matters: Child custody case offers insight on the motive of judges