Domestic violence and abuse is a crime and the law has been set up to help protect the victims of domestic violence from their abusers through a number of court orders. The Family Law Act 1996 provides for two types of court order, namely occupation orders and non-molestation orders (will be discussed in the next article) to protect the victims of domestic violence from their abusers.
What is an occupation order?
Occupational orders are civil orders that can be granted by the courts to protect victims from domestic abuse or violence of their abusers. Usually, the victim and abuser are living in a same household or had lived together in the past and occupation order affects both of theirs rights.
This order is used in circumstances where you the victim wish to continue to live in your home but want to prevent the abuser from living in the same house as you. This order usually is granted for a set amount of time and on temporary basis most of the time.
Who can apply for an occupation order?
Section 62(3) of the Family Law Act 1996 allows you to apply for an occupation order against an associated person. Associated persons are defined by the law to include couples who are or have been married, civil partners, relatives or cohabitants or former cohabitants. Couples who have been engaged also come under associated persons.
The type of application you can apply for depends on your relationship with the abuser but all applications are covered by the Family Law Act 1996.
Criteria must to be met
When considering whether to grant an occupation order the court applies two tests to it. First, is the balance of harm test which establishes whether an applicant or child will suffer significant harm if the occupation order is or is not, granted. If the first test favours not granting an occupation order then the court will go on to apply the second test. The second test is referred as the core criteria test, which requires the court to look at factors such as both parties housing needs or children’s housing needs if children are involved, financial resources of both parties and the effect of any order on the wellbeing and health of any children.
We at Sabeers Stone Greene LLP can assist you in making this application to a civil court or a magistrates court through the assistance and legal advice from our experienced family law solicitors.