Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders
What is a non-molestation Order?
A Non-Molestation Order aims to prevent your current, ex-partner or an associated person from using violence against you or your children to ensure your health, safety, and wellbeing. This also includes preventing intimidation, pestering or harassment, both in person and electronically.
When considering making an application for a Non-Molestation Order and/or an Occupation Order, the requirement is that you must be ‘an associated person’ which must be on of the following:
- Currently or previously married to or in a Civil Partnership the other person
- Currently or previously been cohabiting with the other person
- Currently or previously engaged to the other person within the last three years
- Related to the other person
- You are in family law proceedings and a party to those proceedings with the other person
- You have been in an intimate relationship of a significant duration with the other person
- You have a child or children with the other person
What is an Occupation Order?
An Occupation Order is when the Court decides who should and should not live in the family home. This Order can also remove the person from the home and from an area around the home. Sections 33 and 35 to 38 of the Family Law Act 1996 contains the power to make an Occupation Order.
Essentially, an Occupation Order controls who can live in a property. It can also restrict the person from entering a certain area.
How do I apply for a non-molestation order or an occupation order and what evidence do I need?
You must be eligible to apply for a Non-Molestation Order. This means you need to meet at least one of the following criteria:
- You own or rent the home and it is, was, or was intended to be shared with a spouse, civil partner, cohabitant, family member, person you are engaged to or parent of your child
- You do not own or rent the home but you are married or in a civil partnership with the owner and you’re living in the home
- Your former spouse or civil partner is the owner or tenant, and the home is or was intended to be your shared matrimonial home
- The person you cohabit or cohabited with is the owner or tenant, and the home is or was intended to be your shared home
An application must be made to the Court using Form FL401 with a sworn statement to support your allegations of domestic violence, accompanied by a detailed time-line which is also known as a Scott Schedule.
Your partner or former partner will be notified of the application and you both need to attend a Court hearing (except if the application is made ex-parte). Provision can be made for protection whilst at Court, if needed, which is known as special measures.
If they admit the allegations against them (or fail to attend) then the appropriate Injunction Order is made, usually lasting for 6 or 12 months – but this can be longer or ‘until further notice’ in some cases. Once expired, an application can be made to renew the Injunction Order if necessary.
If the respondent denies the allegations or is not willing to leave the property, the case will proceed to a Contested Final Hearing where the Judge will decide whether to make the Non-Molestation or Occupation Order, or to dismiss the application altogether.
What happens if the other party defends the applications?
Respondents have 14 days to defend and respond to an application for a Non-Molestation Order. If an application is made the Court will review the evidence and statements made by the respondent and decide whether to dismiss the Non-Molestation Order or list the matter for a further hearing.
How do I defend or get the Non-Molestation Order removed?
When a respondent believes that the Non-Molestation Order granted against them is unsubstantiated or based on fabrication, they can apply to the court to ask for the Non-Molestation Order to be discharged. The respondent must provide evidence showing that the allegations made against them are false and that they have been wrongly accused of the claims made by the applicant, and that it is infringing his or her civil liberties without any justification.
If you need assistance with any of the above issues or require support with your application, please contact Sima directly by calling 02073531746 or via email: email@example.com.