Domestic Violence does not just include physical assaults; it can include threats, intimidation, harassment etc.
Where a party has or is suffering from Domestic Violence there are two remedies available. One is to contact the police who may charge the perpetrator for offences such as assault, harassment etc. The other is to apply to the Courts under Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996 for a Non-Molestation and Occupation Order.
1. Non-Molestation Order.
A Non-Molestation Order is used to stop a perpetrator from using or threatening violence towards the Applicant. It also prohibits the perpetrator from intimidating, pestering, threatening and harassing the Applicant or instructing, encouraging or in any way suggesting any other person should do the same.
This type of Order can be made without any notice to the perpetrator which will provide immediate protection.
2. Occupation Order
An Occupation Order is aimed protecting the Applicant or children from domestic violence in the family home. The order can exclude the perpetrator from the property altogether, or divide the property to exclude him or her from part of the accommodation. It can also stop the perpetrator from re-entering and/or coming within a certain area of the property.
The court also has the power to force one or both parties to pay the mortgage or rent on the family home until a final order is made or transfer the tenancy from the joint names of the parties into the sole name of the Applicant.
In relation to Non-Molestation and Occupation Order only certain people who are “associated” with the perpetrator can apply:
- They are or have been married to each other, or they are or have been civil partners of each other;
- They are cohabitants or former cohabitants;
- They live or have lived in the same household, otherwise than by reason of one of them being the other’s employee, tenant, lodger or boarder;
- They are relatives (this includes immediate relations and other close relations such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, step-parents and step-children);
- They have agreed to marry one another (whether or not that agreement has been terminated – however, where the agreement has been terminated, any application must be made within 3 years of the termination date) or since 1 July 2007, they have or have had an intimate personal relationship with each other which was of significant duration;
- In relation to a child, they are both parents or have, or have had, parental responsibility (where a child has been adopted or freed for adoption, two people will be associated if one is the natural parent and the other is the child or adoptive parent of the child);
- They are parties to the same family proceedings (otherwise than proceedings under Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996).
Generally, the duration of these orders is between 6 months to 1 year but it can be until further order and if the perpetrator breaches the Order it is now a criminal offence and he/she can be arrested and sent to prison.
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