Anyone can find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship. Often unsure about what to do, how to get out, to protect themselves and their children from domestic abuse. Sometimes people don’t recognise when they are in fact in a controlling or abusive relationship until very many incidents leave them frightened lost isolated and unsure of what legal help may be available.
Most people have heard the phrase “injunction” indeed many reports of abuse in a domestic setting made to the police end in the advice to go and get an injunction, but what does it mean? Who can apply for it? How will it work?
What is an injunction?
An injunction is simply a court order preventing a named person from doing something. In the context of family and intimate relationships, we call such an order a Non-Molestation order. To be able to apply, the other party must be what the law calls an associated person. To be associated, you must be: –
- Married or civil partners or were at one time
- Cohabiting or were cohabiting
- Living in the same household but not as an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder
- Engaged or was so at one time
- Are parents of a child together
- Had a significant intimate relationship
- Are parties to the same family proceedings
What if you fall outside of this definition?
You may still be able to apply for a different type of injunction order.
The Court can make an order preventing physical abuse, harassment, intimidation and can prevent a party from attending a house or place of work.
It is important to seek advice as soon as possible after an incident. Any significant delay can put at risk your ability to obtain an order. In some circumstances, your solicitors can help you get an emergency order without any notice or short notice being given to the other party.
The court also has the power to regulate the occupation of a house. If you satisfy a strict balance of harm test, the court may order a party to leave a property and not return to it. The law in this area is very complex and you should seek legal advice about your individual circumstances.
If your partner serves you with a Non-molestation or occupation order, it is vital that you take legal advice upon it. Such an order can have far reaching circumstances. The breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence and carries a potential prison sentence upon conviction.
Legal aid may be available to assist you with your application in some circumstances so please ask.
About the author
Here at Youngs we have decades of experience in providing quality legal advice. Robert West is a specialist family solicitor and heads up our Newcastle-under-Lyme branch, Cooks. He has experience of successfully representing applicants for injunction orders including applications brought in the High Court. He also has a strong record of defending applications successfully where they have been brought without merit, this includes securing orders that the party pays our client’s costs. In addition, he has considerable experience of bringing and defending applications to enforce orders by way of committal to prison for alleged breaches.