OCCUPATION ORDERS INJUNCTIONS

The Family Law Act 1996 Part IV provides injunctive relief in the case of domestic violence or other domestic disputes. Two remedies are:
(a) an Occupation Order and/or (b) a Non Molestation Order.

An Occupation Order depending on the relationship of the parties could:

  • allow you to stay in the home
  • allow you to enter and live in the home (or part of it) if you have left
  • make sure that your partner only uses a certain part of the home and it can state at what times
  • prevent, suspend, restrict or terminate (in certain circumstances) your partner’s access to the home
  • require your partner to leave the home or part of it
  • exclude your partner from a defined distance away from where the home is located.
  • provide that the home rights of the applicant are not brought to an end by the death of the other spouse or civil partner or termination of the marriage or civil partnership.
  • give you the right to enter and occupy the home for a specified period and prohibit your partner from evicting or excluding you during that period

The home can be any building or part of a building which is occupied as a dwelling and any caravan, houseboat or structure which is occupied as a dwelling.

You can apply for an occupation order if you are married, civil partners, were married or former civil partners or are or were cohabiting. The application is heard in court but only the people who are involved with the case will be present. You can ask for your address to be kept secret and you can ask the court officers to keep your partner away from you.

In deciding which remedy to grant and for how long, the court considers amongst other things, the financial and housing needs and resources of each of the parties and of any relevant child and the nature of the relationship between the parties. Under the original Family Law Act non-entitled people could only apply for occupation orders if they were a male and female who had lived as unmarried man and wife. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 allowed a person in a homosexual relationship who lives in their abusive partners' home to become a non-entitled person and thus able to apply for occupation orders. It is more difficult for Non-entitled applicants who live in their partner’s homes to get an occupation order. If they are successful the order usually only lasts for a maximum of six months, after which they can only make one further application for a further six month period.

If your order is temporary and you live in a council or housing association property and your partner is a tenant (sole or joint) you can apply for a court order to try to transfer the tenancy into your sole name under the Family Law Act. This order was originally only available to those who had lived together in heterosexual relationships but again was extended (by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004) in July 2005 to include people living together in homosexual relationships.

If you are successful in obtaining an occupation order if there is actual or threatened violence the court can attach a power of arrest to the order. This will permit the police to arrest the person who is in breach of the order. The police should be given a copy of the injunction if it carries a power of arrest, this helps if at anytime you need their assistance. If there is no power of arrest attached to the injunction and the order is not complied with, the court can if requested, if it believes there are reasonable grounds to do so issue a Warrant of Arrest. Injunctions can show your partner that you are no longer prepared to accept bad behaviour. You should be prepared to call the police if your partner disobeys the terms of the injunction.

If you wish to apply for an injunction, please do not hesitate to contact this firm on +44 (0)208 539 0075, e-mail info@gmhewettsolicitor.com for a free competitive quotation.

This article is a guide only and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.

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