Sadly, we work with many clients who, along with their children, are victims of domestic abuse.
Some flee the spousal home with little more than the clothes they stand up in while others stay and suffer in silence – because they fear losing any legal rights they may have.
It is vital that you know there are injunctions you can take out which entail the Court making an order protecting you and your children from abuse or harassment by your partner/spouse and prevent them from living in your home.
An FL401 form enables you to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, which forbids your spouse/partner from:
- Coming to, or near, your home
- Using or threatening violence against you and your children
- Intimidating, harassing, or pestering you and your children
- Going to places such as schools that you and your children visit regularly.
- Send/engage in threatening communication through letter, telephone, text message, or other means of communication (including social media).
- Not to instruct or encourage a third party to do any of the above on their behalf.
The same form can also be used to apply for an Occupation Order, where the court decides who should live in, or return to, the home or any part of it.
Depending upon your circumstances, you can apply for a non-molestation order, an occupation order – or both.
The application does not require court fees. If a family lawyer assists you with the application, you pay for their fees. Legal Aid is available for applications of this nature provided the required thresholds for qualification are met.
Key Factors the Court Will Consider
- The housing needs/resources of you and your spouse/partner and children
- Your respective finances
- Your behaviour to each other
- The likely impact of a Court order/decision not to exercise its powers, on the health/safety/wellbeing of you, your spouse/partner and your children.
Considerations for Married Couples
If you were married and have no existing right to occupy the property, the Court will also examine:
- The length of time since you last lived together.
- How long ago your marriage was dissolved.
- If any current legal proceedings exist between you for a financial order following your divorce, or for an order under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 for financial relief or relating to the legal or beneficial ownership of the property.
Considerations for Cohabitees
If you are living with your partner and have no existing right to occupy the property, the Court will examine:
- If you have any children together or if you have, or have had, parental responsibility for any children (stepchildren, godchildren etc)
- If an Order is made in your favour, it could be for a specified period – often six months – or until another Court Order is made. In some situations, the Order can be renewed for another six months.
The protection the court offers is available to married, divorced, cohabiting and former cohabiting couples along with those in civil partnerships.
Domestic abuse occurs in all levels of society – regardless of race, gender, wealth, or age.
In confidential consultations highly skilled and sensitive family law specialists like us who have extensive expertise in helping victims of victims of domestic violence, discuss all your options and advise on the way forward. This includes court applications for an injunction as outlined above.
We can also suggest other organisations who can help you outside the legal process.
For more information on the FL401 form, visit the Government website.
About Anthony Parrish
Anthony’s extensive experience in family law spans over two decades, during which time he has developed specialisms in matters relating to children law.
A member of Jones Myers internationally renowned Children’s Department, he deals with issues relating to children, teenagers, parents (including those represented through their official solicitor) and local authorities.
His expertise also encompasses international child abduction cases and same sex relationship issues.