Why an injunction may be necessary during lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds.

China experienced a surge in reported domestic abuse during the lockdown, a factor unfortunately being reflected in the UK according to early reports, so while it may be a very hard call to make, in the current situation it’s more important than ever that you seek legal support or the police if abuse is taking place.

For those where there is no physical risk, it’s still important to act if you need help, so don’t sit on it.  Reaching out and receiving some impartial support may be just enough to keep things on a more even keel while we continue through the lockdown.

If things have gone too far to be resolved, then receiving advice on what is feasible and how to approach conflict could make all the difference. You may not be able to speak on the phone or via video link if you are in lockdown with your partner, but having an email exchange with one of our friendly family law solicitors can bridge the gap during the current situation.  We are making ourselves available to our clients in whatever way is needed in the current crisis.

If you are suffering from violence, threats or intimidation, it is possible to apply in the family courts for an injunction to help protect you. There are two types of injunction:

  • non-molestation order
  • occupation order

What is a non-molestation order?

A non-molestation order prohibits your partner or spouse from using or threatening violence against you or your children, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you. It can contain very specific provisions depending on the particular type of harassment happening to you.

Who can apply?

To apply for a non-molestation order you must be associated to the person you wish to take out the non-molestation order against. Former and current spouses, civil partners and cohabitants are included, as well as fiancé(e)s, relatives, people living in the same household, the parents of children in the house and those who have been in intimate personal relationships of significant duration.

What is an occupation order?

An occupation order sets out who can live in the family home (or certain parts of it) and can also restrict someone from entering the area surrounding a home. An occupation order does not affect each person’s financial interest in the home, simply who can live in it.

Who can apply?

Former or current spouses, civil partners or cohabitants, or people with a legal entitlement to occupy the property, such as an owner or tenant, can make an application to court for an occupation order. The person asking the court to help is called the applicant and the other person is the respondent.

The order

The order that the court makes will say who can live in the home and who is excluded from it. It can also impose obligations relating to the repair and maintenance of the home, or to payment of the rent or mortgage. The length of time for which the order will last depends on your particular circumstances and is usually 6 or 12 months, but may be renewable. Breach of an occupation order is not a criminal offence, but a power of arrest can be attached to the order, allowing the police to arrest the person in breach.

Need to talk to us?

If you have any queries about the above or wish to speak to a member of our Family team then please telephone 01892 526344 or email enquiries@berryandlamberts.co.uk.

For further information on all our Family Law services, please click here.

Whilst our offices are closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, we are offering a telephone appointment service which gives you one hour of time with a solicitor for £100 + VAT. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.