You can make an application to the family court for an injunction to help protect you or your child against violence, threats or intimidation.

Protect you or your child with an injunction

You can make an application to the family court for an injunction to help protect you or your child against violence, threats or intimidation.
 

You can make an application to the family court for an injunction to help protect you or your child against violence, threats or intimidation.
 

There are two types of orders you can seek:
 

  1. Non-Molestation Order for the protection of parties and any children; and
  2. Occupation orders which exclude the other party from occupation of the home.
     

What is a Non-Molestation Order?
 

A Non-Molestion Order (NMO) is an order prohibiting your partner or spouse from using or threatening to use violence against you or your child, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you.
 

Can I apply to the court?
 

To apply for a NMO you must be an “associated person” which includes:
 

  • Former/current spouses
  • civil partners/ cohabitants
  • fiancé(e)s
  • relatives
  • people living in the same household
     

Before making an application to the court you should seek legal advice as to whether you are an associated person.
 

How do I make an application to the court?
 

You must apply to the court by completing the appropriate court form and supporting your application with a witness statement that sets out the circumstances of your case. You are known as the Applicant and the other party is known as the Respondent. When the court receives your application, it will fix a hearing.
 

Will the court grant my application?
 

The court must have regard to all circumstances, included the need to secure your health, safety and well-being of you and any relevant child. You will need to show that there is a genuine need for your protection. The court considers your health (mental and physical), safety and well-being. It must be satisfied that there is evidence of molestation and you (or child) need protection from the court. Molestation involves, for example, any form of physical, psychological or sexual molestation or harassment that has a serious impact on the health and well-being of the applicant or any relevant child. If you are successful then the court will order that the Respondent is prohibited from doing a list of things that can include contacting you directly or indirectly. The court will specify how long the Respondent is prevented from doing the list of things and can, in certain cases, order that it remains indefinitely. It is a criminal offence to breach a NMO.
 

What is an Undertaking?
 

An undertaking is a binding promise that a party or parties can give to the court instead of a court order. Breaching an undertaking is contempt of court and is not a criminal offence however a party who is in breach of an undertaking can be committed to prison.
 

What is an Occupation order?
 

An occupation order is a court order setting out who can live, return or be excluded from the family home (or certain parts of the home). It can also restrict a person from entering an area that surrounds the family home. It does not affect a person’s financial interest in the family home.
 

Can I apply to the court?
 

You can apply for an occupation order if you are, for example:
 

  • Former/current spouses
  • civil partners/ cohabitants
  • legally entitled to occupy the family home
     

Before making an application to the court you should seek legal advice.
 

How do I make an application to the court?
 

You must apply to the court by completing the appropriate court form and supporting your application with a witness statement that sets out, in detail, the circumstances of your case, including why you are seeking the occupation order. When the court receives your application, it will fix a hearing to determine the issues and to decide what should happen. The Respondent will usually be given the opportunity to reply to your application by preparing a statement.
 

Will my application be granted?
 

The court process is quite complicated and you should seek legal advice before applying to the court so that you can discuss with your solicitor the merits of your application. There are a number of different tests that the court will apply depending on your relationship status of you and the Respondent. In certain cases, the court will apply a test called “balance of harm” and looks at whether you or your child is likely to suffer “significant harm” if the court does not grant your application and in other cases the court can apply its discretion. If granted, the court order generally will say who is to live in the family home and who is excluded. The length of time will be down to the court to decide however is usually between six to 12 months depending on the circumstances of the case. Breach of the occupation order is not a criminal offence however the court can attach a power of arrest which means that the police can arrest the person in breach of the order.

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