At AFG LAW our solicitors know how the end of a relationship can affect every aspect of your life. We know this can be particularly stressful when it comes to where you are going to live. Most people have to resolve what will happen to the family home on separation but for some people it can be more serious than that and it may be necessary to exclude someone from the home.
The same piece of law that deals with non molestation orders and protection for domestic violence also deals with occupation orders to deal with the issue of who should stay in the home and who should be excluded from occupying the home.
What is an Occupation Order?
Occupation Orders say who should live in the home and who should be prevented from living in the home. They are very serious orders because they can affect a person’s life and right to live in a home that they are legally entitled to live in. Occupation Orders don’t just exclude someone from a home but also set down rules for how people entitled to live in the house must interact with the property.
An occupation order can:
- enforce a person’s right to remain in the property
- require a person to allow the other person to enter and remain in the property
- say who and how the property should be occupied by one or both people
- stop or restrict the exercise by a person of their right to occupy the home
- require someone to leave the home or part of the home
- stop someone from being in a defined area around the home
Our family law solicitors will talk to you about your specific situation and offer tailored advice. This is a really complicated area of law and there are 5 different routes depending on a person’s housing rights; advice will also be very different if someone is trying to return to a property having fled or if they want to remain in a property. Over the years our solicitors have helped people with a whole variety of circumstances from those who have needed to exclude someone from the entire property or where the property has allowed both parties to remain in the property but in defined areas of the property so they are able to live separately and not come into contact with each other.
We have prepared a guide about what factors the court will look at when being asked to make an order to provide people with clear information.
Can I apply for an occupation order?
This is a complicated area of law and our solicitors will guide you through all the different considerations. If you want to make an application for an occupation order, our solicitors will help you work out what your property rights are and whether you are ‘associated’ with the person you want to apply for an order against.
You are associated with the other person if:
- you are or have been married to each other
- you are or have been civil partners
- you are or have been cohabitants
- you live in the same household other than as an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder
- you are relatives
- you have been engaged within the last three years, even if it has been broken off
- you have agreed to enter into a civil partnership agreement, even if it has been broken off
- you have been in an intimate personal relationship for a significant duration
- you have child together or both have parental responsibility for a child
- you are involved in the same family proceedings
What about the property that will be subject to the occupation order?
Most people who want to get an occupation order are applying for it in respect of their family home. If you want to apply for an occupation order for a property it has to be a “dwelling-house”. This can include any building or part of a building which is lived in as a home, and even a caravan, house-boat or ‘structure’ provided it is lived in as a home. It also includes any yard, garden, garage or outhouse belonging to a property and occupied with it. It must be a property that is the family home, has been the family home or was intended to be the family home. It can’t be a ‘holiday’ home for example or a investment property that was never intended to be lived in by the family.