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What types of injunctions are available in the Family Court?

The very essence of an Injunction is to ‘restrict’ someone from doing something. In the context of Family Law, an injunction is to prevent someone from causing you further harm and/or restricting occupation rights as to the family home. You may have certain ‘Home Rights’ to the property even though you are not a legal owner. Harm is defined as ‘the harassment, threatening of, intimidation of another putting that person in fear of and/or have suffered psychological, verbal, sexual and/or financial abuse’.

The two main injunctions available to any prospective client who is in fear and/or has suffered harm is a Non-Molestation Order and/or an Occupation Order granted by the Family Court.

Non-Molestation Order

A Non-Molestation Order is the most common injunction sought by clients. To obtain a Non-Molestation Order you must show that you have suffered threatening physical violence, or you wish to prevent a person from harassing, pestering and/or intimidating you. The Meaning is broad within its scope to ensure that all types of behaviour can be considered.

The Court will place restrictions on the length of time a Non-Molestation Order will be in existence for. An Order will exist for a minimum six-month period unless the Court deems it necessary to extend the term to twelve months. It is the burden of the Applicant i.e. the individual making the application, to show that the behaviour is of a serious nature. Once the Order has ended (lapsed) the burden the Applicant to make a fresh application to the Court to extend the Order.

A Non-Molestation Order can place restrictions over the individual that it is sort against. An Order can prevent someone from entering and/or coming near the Applicant’s residence. A Non-Molestation Order can restrict how close someone can come to a particular individual.

The Court will consider the size of the area and will be mindful not to restrict the Respondent too much and prevent them from doing day to day activities such as travelling to and from work etc.  

If an individual breached any Order made by the Court, the Police should be informed immediately. The Police have the authority to arrest any individual found to have breached any Order.

Occupation Order

In order for the Court to grant an Occupation Order, the Applicant must be deemed to have reached the higher threshold that must be proven; serious physical abuse must have been suffered. The Court would rather revert to a Non-Molestation Order rather than an Occupation Order to achieve the same outcome.

An Occupation Order sets out who should remain and who should be excluded from the Family Home. By granting an Occupation Order the Court is removing somebodies right to remain in a property that may legally be entitled to occupy.

The Court will grant the Order for an initial six-month period. The Court does have the power to extend to an indefinite period, but it is rare for the Court to do so.

Who Can Apply

In respect of a Non-Molestation Order an Applicant must show that the Respondent is one of the following people:-

  • Husband, wife or civil partner
  • Former husband, wife or civil partner
  • Fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • Boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or a person you are in, or have been in a relationship with, for more than 6 months
  • Close family member i.e. parent, grandparents, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, and children

In respect of an Occupation Order a person can apply in the following circumstances:-

  • You legally own and or rent a property intended for you and your husband to cohabit in
  • You are married to, or in a civil partnership with the owner of the property you’re living together in
  • Your former husband, wife or civil partner is the owner or tenant and the property was intended to be shared as a matrimonial home
  • The person you cohabit or cohabited with is the owner or tenant and the home was intended to be shared between yourselves.

Costs

Kew Law LLP’s costs to prepare a client’s application which will include the barrister’s costs of representing the client at an initial hearing, varies on a case by case basis. Our estimated costs will be dependent on what application or applications need to be made, whether they need to be made urgently, as well as the cost of the instructed barrister. Costs commence from £1,500 plus VAT and there is no Court fee required for making such applications.

What to do Next

Please contact us on 0800 987 8156 to speak to a friendly member of our Family Department of any other questions that you may have, or to make an appointment at one of our offices to go through further the process further.

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