The Family Law Act 1996 offers protection if you or your child have suffered or are currently suffering domestic abuse from a spouse, civil partner or partner. You may be able to apply for a “non-molestation order” and/or an “occupation order” in respect of the family home.
A non-molestation order is a Court order that prevents the perpetrator from threatening violence towards you or your child and from intimidating, harassing or pestering you or your child (whether directly or via a third party). If the perpetrator breaches the terms of the order, he/she can be arrested and prosecuted.
An occupation order can be obtained to either prevent somebody from returning to or continuing to live in a property in which you have a right to reside. It is viewed as a fairly draconian type of order so it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible in order for the merits of your potential application to be assessed. The Courts will consider “the balance of harm” test when deciding whether an order should be granted and will also need to assess the needs and welfare of the perpetrator as well.
However, the welfare of any child involved will be the primary focus for the Courts. Such an order is seen as a temporary measure and therefore they are typically granted for a term of no more than 12 months at any given time. In certain circumstances, these orders can be extended.
It is crucial for any injunctive relief application to be made quickly as any delays in acting may diminish the merits. If you are therefore seeking the protection of an injunction, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.