At AFG LAW we frequently make applications to court for non-molestation and occupation orders and a large portion of our non-molestation order applications are made on an urgent basis due to the need to get protection for our clients quickly. We have the experience, knowledge and structure in place to make applications for protective injunctions quickly and effectively. People contacting the family department needing advice on protecting themselves and their children will receive an urgent response and we often secure orders the next day.
Our domestic abuse solicitors will listen to you carefully and assess the situation to provide you with legal advice about the best course of action.
What orders can protect me?
Non molestation orders
This is a type of court order that can be put in place to protect someone from domestic abuse. The types of behaviour that can be included within the order can include:
- Stopping someone from using or threatening violence
- Stopping someone from intimidating, harassing or pestering the other person
- Stopping someone from contacting or trying to contact another person including by telephone, text, email, social media or any form of electronic communication
- Stopping someone from damaging, attempting to damage or threatening to damage any property owned by you or in your possession
- Stopping someone from damaging, attempting to damage or threatening to damage the home or the contents of the home
- Stopping someone from entering or attempting to enter the home, going within 100 metres of the home or the road the home is on
- Stopping someone from going near a school, nursery or somewhere else that the children attend
These are not the only type of protection a court can include within an order to ensure someone is protected but are an example of the most common. Our domestic abuse solicitors will discuss your specific circumstances and ensure the order applied for gives you the protection you need for your circumstances.
The order can also stop a person from instructing, encouraging or suggesting any other person should do anything on their behalf, for example, getting a family member to harm someone for them. The order can also be made to specifically protect children of the family too.
This is a type of court order that can say who can live in the house or part of the house; it can exclude someone from the house and say the other person can remain in the home. The court will look at these orders very carefully as they have serious consequences as they can exclude someone from the home they are entitled to live in. The order can:
- Say someone is entitled to occupy a home
- Say that someone has home rights in a property, that any home rights won’t end if the other person dies, or a marriage/civil partnership is brought to an end or will continue until court proceedings for a financial order are resolved
- Say that someone must leave a home, cannot occupy the home and when they have left must not return, enter or attempt to enter the home
- Say that one person must allow the other person to occupy the home
- Say a person has the right not to be evicted or excluded from the home
Occupation orders are a complicated area of law and what orders the court can make depends on what rights you have towards a property. Our domestic abuse solicitors can help if you are worried what to do next.
You can only apply for occupation orders if it is the home, was the home or was intended to be the home. You can’t apply for an occupation order for a holiday cottage or a separate business premises but our family solicitors or their colleagues in dispute resolution can help.
Occupation orders can be made to regulate who lives in a house or part of a house. Our solicitors have known the court make orders where a family farm has been divided in two with people living in different areas, and even in a terraced house that had two front doors, kitchen and bathroom areas and so each party could live in a portion of the same home. Every set of circumstances are different, and our specialist family solicitors will make sure you get a personal resolution.
Who can apply?
The rules are quite complicated and our solicitors will need to give you individual advice but, simply put, you can apply for an order if:
- You are or have been married
- You are or have been civil partners
- You live or have lived together/cohabited
- You live in the same house and aren’t a tenant, lodger, boarder or one of you is the other person’s employee
- You are related
- You are or have been engaged and broke off the engagement within three years
- You are or have been in a civil partnership agreement and broke off the agreement within three years
- You are or have dated for a period of time and have been in a significant intimate relationship but haven’t lived together
- You have a child together or share, or have shared, parental responsibility for a child
- You are parties to family proceedings
We know this is a long and complicated list, but most people fit into one of the categories. If you are worried our local domestic abuse solicitors are experienced in advising how it would apply to your situation.
What happens if someone breaches a non-molestation order?
If you have a non-molestation order and the person who is prohibited from doing the things listed in the order breaches the order, for example, by using or threatening violence, coming to the home or making contact then you should report it immediately to the police. The order can only protect you if you use it by calling the police if there are any breaches. A breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both. It is an automatically arrestable offence and this is why our domestic abuse solicitors will always lodge a non-molestation order with the police to make sure that it is on their system and they can then action it if needed.
If the police arrest the person who has breached the order and the CPS decide to charge them with an offence the case will be sent to the Magistrates’ court, and you will be supported by the police but can also get support from local domestic abuse charities and Victim Support.
How long does a non-molestation order last?
A non-molestation order can be made for a specified period of time, for example, a year from the date of an order or it can be open ended and made ‘until further order’. If your non molestation order is about to run out our solicitors can give you advice about extending a non-molestation order.
How long does an occupation order last?
This is not a straightforward answer and depends on which group of people you fall into when you make the application for an occupation order. Our solicitors can give you advice specific to your circumstances and explain how you are best securing protecting.
What is the difference between a restraining order and a non-molestation order?
A restraining order is a type of order the criminal courts can make if they are dealing with a relevant criminal offence and think there is a need for ongoing protection, a non-molestation order is a type of order the family courts can make and our solicitors can help you apply for so you can get protection in place.