For many people who are the victims of domestic violence, an Occupation Order can give them the physical space them to protect them from the perpetrator. In this article Imran Khodabocus explains what an Occupation Order is; how they can obtain one and what other court orders can be attached to an Occupation Order.
What is an Occupation Order?
This is a court order dealing with who lives in a property or even part of a property. By extension, an Occupation Order can require someone to leave and not come back.
How do I get an one?
As you would expect, you need to fall into a certain category of Applicants in order to apply for an Occupation Order. For example this includes; people who have been or are married ( or in a civil partnership)to the other person; cohabitants or former cohabitants; if you have lived with the other person; if you are related in a specific way to the other person etc.
You will have to apply to court. There is no fee.
What things will the court take into account when deciding if I should get an Occupation Order?
This does depend on what category of Applicant you fall into. However, generally a court is going to be concerned with whether or not you, or any other relevant children, have suffered significant harm. The court, in some circumstances, can take into account other factors such as the conduct of the other person; the effect of not making an occupation order on the health, safety or well-being on any person or relevant children; the housing needs of those involved and any children; the financial resources of those involved etc.
Can the court make any do anything else to help me when making an Occupation Order?
Yes, the court has the power to make court orders dealing with who should pay the rent or mortgage; who should maintain the property; or should have possession or use of the household contents etc. The court also has the power to direct that the person staying in the property should pay a sum known as ‘periodical payments’ to the person who has been ordered to leave.
When considering these ‘additional orders’ the court will look at your financial needs and resources, particularly if there are any children who need looking after.
How long does an Occupation Order last?
Again this depends on what category of Applicant you fall into but they can last at least 6 months, if not longer.
Specialist family law advice
Maybe you are thinking about the two options and want to go through things in a bit more detail? If you have any questions about this article, please get in touch with Imran Khodabocus on 01392 284 851 or 01823 785070 for appointments in Taunton. We can assess you for legal aid and in some emergency situations, grant you legal aid in our initial meeting. Even if you don’t qualify, your initial appointment is free.