Occupation orders are sometimes more complicated and different to non-molestation orders. They are orders which will affect your rights and or the rights of your ex partner to the home you live in or have lived in together.
It may be suitable for you to apply for an occupation order if you need to order your abuser to leave the home or stay away from the home or even to stay a certain distance from the home.
An occupation order may also order your abuser to stay in certain parts of the home or to order your abuser to allow you back into the home if you have been locked you out.
It is important for you to seek good advice from an experienced family solicitor as there are some additional options available under this legislation.
Anyone who is legally associated to their abuser and who has property rights to the home may apply for an occupation order.
You are considered to be an 'entitled applicant' if you fall into one of the following categories:
Sole tenant, joint tenant, sole home owner, joint home owner, are married to the sole tenant or sole home owner or are in a civil partnership with the sole tenant or sole home owner or you have a registered interest in the home. You would need to have gone to court to fall into the last category.
You may get an occupation order if you fall into one of these categories. It is more difficult if you do not have any automatic rights to the home. Under the original Family Law Act non-entitled people could only apply for occupation orders if they had lived in a heterosexual (equivalent of husband and wife) relationship.
This restriction was changed by the introduction of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and non-entitled lesbian and gay cohabitants (for example lesbians and gay men who live in their abusive partners' homes) are also now able to apply for occupation orders.
Non-entitled applicants for example women who live in their boyfriend's homes can only get occupation orders which last for a maximum of 6 months and then they may only apply for one more order which again can only be for a maximum of six months. This means that non-entitled applicants may only get an occupation order for a total of one year altogether.
If you are successful in obtaining an occupation order the court may or may not attach a power of arrest to the order.
If you are not able to get the help you need because you are not recognised by the courts to qualify for a non-molestation order, perhaps because you are not legally associated to your abuser or have been together less than six months, you may be able to apply for an injunction
It is important to get the correct advice for your situation and you should speak with an experienced Family Solicitor. If you are applying for a civil injunction called a restraining order you will need to get legal advice on how to obtain an injunction.
It is possible for you to apply for a warrant for the arrest of your abuser if they break the terms of a restraining order granted by the courts. The order may include members of your abusers family as well as your abuser.
Then if your abuser breaches the order again this will constitute a criminal offence and can carry a prison sentence of up to five years. Whilst it is up to you to inform the court when there is a breach of an order, it is then up to the court to decide on the punishment.
You should discuss your options and the best way forward for your situation with an experienced Family Law solicitor or telephone 0333 2070 601.