Non-Molestation and Occupation Order Proceedings
Don’t Suffer In Silence – Seek Help and we can help you stop the Abuse
Domestic violence can ruin and take lives. Last year the PSNI reported that they had dealt with over 30,000 domestic abuse incidents in the preceding year. This is a shameful statistic. However this does not reflect the true scale as so many women, and also men, are afraid of the repercussions of speaking out against the hidden trauma that they are suffering. We acknowledge that it takes a huge amount of strength to stand up and decide enough is enough. When you do we are here to help you.
The government’s Tackling Violence at Home strategy defines domestic abuse as, “Threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on one person by another where they are or have been intimate partners or family members, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.” If you are suffering any of this please contact our office.
There are a number of ways we can assist. Firstly we are here to talk and listen to the problems you are going through. You will not be judged in any way. Just by opening up to someone you may begin to feel like there are people on your side and that you can end the cycle of abuse. We can refer you to organisations such as Woman’s Aid and Refuge who can provide specialised support and assistance. We can also liaise with the PSNI on your behalf.
The main and most important way that we as solicitors can assist is advising on whether you should apply to the court to obtain a Non-Molestation Order and/or an Occupation Order.
If you are a victim of domestic violence you can apply to the court for a Non-Molestation Order. The Non-Molestation Order protects you or your child/grandchild from being harmed, threatened, harassed, pestered or intimidated. It also prevents the person you need protection from instructing or inciting a third party to do any of the above on their behalf.
You can seek such an Order if the person you want protection from is someone you’re having or had a relationship with; a family member; or someone you’re living with or lived with. You can also apply on behalf of your child or grandchild if they are suffering.
Breach of a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence which may lead to imprisonment.
We can guide you through this process and in emergency situations we can obtain it usually within 24 hours and without notifying the other party that you are seeking it.
If someone has applied to the court for a Non-Molestation Order against you and you dispute the allegations made we can assist you in contesting the imposition of such an Order.
If you qualify as someone who is eligible for a Non-Molestation Order you may also be able to obtain an Occupation Order. This will regulate the occupation rights in the family home, i.e. it can be used to prevent the abuser from entering the home or a defined area surrounding the home. It does not affect the ownership of the property.
When you contact us for your free initial enquiry you will be under no obligation to instruct us and we will be delighted to advise in any way that we can. We can advise whether the circumstances are such that you will be able to obtain an emergency Order. If you do get an emergency Order the PSNI are notified, who will then inform the abuser.
Please do not let funding concerns deter you from getting in touch with us. We will provide you at the outset with estimates of all our fees and charges. There may be the possibility to agree a flat fee at the outset of your case. Alternatively you may be entitled to legal aid. We will be able to explore these options on your behalf.
For many years Boyd Rice Solicitors have been representing people who are going through this difficult time in their lives. We devote care and attention to our clients and you can contact your assigned solicitor by phone or email.
We know that domestic abuse victims can be suffering terribly so we want to make sure your safety is ensured as quickly as possible.
Frequently asked questions
A Non-Molestation Order prevents an associated person from using or threatening violence against you and from intimidating, harassing, or pestering you. For example, it prevents the person from contacting you via telephone, social media or in person. This Order prevents the person from instructing a third person to intimidate, harass or pester you. In addition, it is a criminal offence to breach this Order.
As mentioned above you can only obtain a Non- Molestation Order against what is known as an associated person. This includes the following:
- If you are married or were married to the person.
- If you are or were in a civil partnership with the person.
- If you live with or lived with the person.
- If you are related to the person.
- If you agreed to marry the person.
- If you agreed to form a civil partnership with the person.
- If you both are parents or have parental responsibility for a child.
- If one of you is a parent of a child and the other has parental responsibility for the child.
- If both of you are parties to the same family proceedings.
If the person you wish to obtain an Order against does not fall under one the associated person categories, for example a friend, then you can apply for a Civil Injunction. We can also provide assistance if you require a Civil Injunction.
If an ex-parte Order is applied for it means the other person, known as the Respondent, will not be notified of your Application until it is granted. Ex-parte orders are granted only in emergency situations. The last incident must have happened within the last week when applying for an ex-parte Order.
An inter-parties Hearing will be listed if an ex-parte Non-Molestation Order has been granted. This Hearing allows the Respondent to attend Court with or without legal representation and give their version of events and provide any evidence they may have.
An ex-parte Order will last until first inter-parties Hearing. If a full Order is granted after this, it can last up to one year. This year can be from the date of the ex – parte Order or from the date of the Hearing, the Court makes this decision.
Legal aid is available to both apply for a Non-Molestation Order and defend one. This is dependent on your disposable income. Depending on your financial circumstances you may be required to make a small contribution towards your legal fees as well as receiving legal aid. Emergency legal aid can be applied for these Orders, which provides for immediate funding, allowing the Application to be submitted to the Court quickly.
An Occupation Order controls who can live in a property and can prevent the Respondent from entering the home and surrounding areas. If you have left your home because of the behaviour of you partner and wish to return but without your Partner, an Occupation Order can be applied for. When deciding if it will grant this Order, the Court will consider a number of factors such as the housing needs and resources of you and the Respondent, the financial resources of you both and your behaviour to one and another. As with a Non-Molestation Order, Occupation Orders can be made ex-parte in emergency situations.
An Occupation Order can be obtained on the following grounds:
- If you own or rent the home and it is, was or intended to be shared with your husband or wife, a civil partner, cohabitant, family member or parent of your child.
- If you do not own the home but have matrimonial home rights, for example you are married to the owner.
- If your former husband, wife or civil partner is the owner of the house and it is, was or was intended to be a shared matrimonial home.
- If the person you cohabited or cohabit with is the owner of the house and it is, was or was intended to be a shared home.
Legal aid is available to both apply for an Occupation Order and defend one. This is dependent on your disposable income. Depending on your financial circumstances you may be required to make a small contribution towards your legal fees as well as receiving legal aid. Emergency legal aid can be applied for to obtain an Order, which grants legal aid immediately, allowing the application to be submitted to the Court quicker.