Domestic violence and injunction solicitors
To speak to a caring and supportive domestic violence law and family solicitor at London based OTS Solicitors call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how we can help you. Alternatively, you can contact us confidentially using our online enquiry form.
What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order injunction is a court order that protects you and/or your child from being harmed by the person (called the respondent to the injunction application) who has abused you or has threatened to do so. The definition of domestic abuse and violence is very wide so it is best to take early legal advice to check to see if you have the grounds to apply for a non-molestation order.
Alternatives to a non-molestation order
If someone has subjected you to domestic violence or has made threats against you and your family then they may have committed a criminal offence. If you are in any immediate danger you should contact the police. A non-molestation order can complement any action that the police take. The police could, for example, bring charges of assault or prosecute for an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Who can apply for a non-molestation order?
Non-molestation orders are designed to provide protection from domestic violence and you should be eligible to apply for a non-molestation order if the respondent (the person who has subjected you to domestic abuse or made threats) is:
Your husband, wife or civil partner; or
Your former husband, former wife or former civil partner; or
Your fiancé/e or proposed civil partner; or
Your former fiancé/e or former proposed civil partner provided that your engagement ended less than three years ago; or
Your partner or a person you have in or have been in a relationship with for more than six months; or
A family member.
Applying for a non-molestation order
To apply for a non-molestation order a family law solicitor will file an application at the family court supported by a statement of evidence prepared on your behalf and signed by you. The statement should tell the court what has happened to you and explain why you need the protection of a non-molestation order.
When deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order the court will consider all of the circumstances, including your health and safety and that of your children. Your family law solicitor will therefore need to show the court how your health (including emotional health) and safety or that of your children would be at risk (or continued risk) if you are not granted the protection of a non-molestation order.
Some applicants for an injunction order do not want their former partner to know where they currently live. When applying for a non-molestation order it is possible to ask the court to keep your address and telephone number confidential and not disclose it to the respondent.
It will be necessary for you to attend one or possibly two court hearings to secure a non-molestation order. Your family law solicitor will prepare you for the court hearing and will support you.
Applying for additional court orders
In addition to applying for a non-molestation order a family law solicitor may advise that it is in your best interests to also apply for an occupation order (so you can stay in the family home safely) or a child arrangements order to protect your children. These applications can either be made at the same time as the non-molestation injunction application or at a later date.
Emergency non-molestation injunction orders
Some non-molestation applications are urgent because there is an immediate risk of physical injury. An urgent non-molestation order application is called a “without notice” or “ex-parte” non-molestation order application because the respondent to the application is not immediately told about the court application and therefore will not be notified about the ex-parte court hearing. After the hearing the respondent will have to be told about the application and will need to be served with the injunction order if the court grants a non-molestation order without notice to the respondent.
If the court decides that the situation is urgent and that you need an urgent non-molestation order without the respondent being made aware of the court proceedings and hearing, the court will usually order a second hearing when the respondent can attend and object to the continuation of the non-molestation order.
What will a non-molestation order say?
The precise wording of the non-molestation order will depend on the circumstances of your injunction application. It is common for a non-molestation order to include injunctions such as:
The respondent to the injunction application must not be violent, threaten violence, intimidate, pester or harass you or, if relevant, any children save for the purposes of agreed contact or court ordered contact between respondent and children;
The respondent must not contact you by trying to meet you in person, by phone, email, or via social media;
The respondent must not go to your place of work.
A non-molestation order usually lasts for a set period of time. If the non-molestation order is made on an ex-parte or without notice basis the order may last until the hearing when the respondent can attend and make representations about the continuation of the non-molestation order.
If the court grants you a non-molestation order it is important that you tell your family law solicitor and keep a record of any occasions that the respondent breaches or tries to breach the order, for example, hanging around outside your house or walking past your place of employment. Breaches of the non-molestation order could lead to enforcement action and/or you could use this record of behaviour to apply for a new non-molestation order at the expiry of the original order.
Enforcing a non-molestation order
In order to enforce a non-molestation order the court order must be served on the respondent to the court proceedings. Your family law solicitor will arrange for the court paperwork and order to be served.
If the respondent to the court order then breaches the non-molestation order it can be enforced .The breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence or you can apply back to the family court because the order has been breached.
If you need advice about whether or not to apply for a non-molestation order or court representation then the family law team at London based OTS Solicitors can help you.