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Guide To Domestic Violence Issues

Guide To Domestic Violence Issues

About violence in the home

A member of our domestic violence team will be available, at short notice, to discuss your difficulties and, if necessary, assist you to apply to the Court for an Order for your protection.

What to do if you are subject to Domestic Violence

If you are subject to violence from your partner or spouse then we advise you to do the following;

1. Contact the Police immediately for assistance. The Police may intervene and arrest your spouse or partner if a criminal offence has been committed e.g assault.
2. You must contact a Family Solicitor preferably a member of Resolution (previously called "The Solicitors Family Law Association"). The Solicitor will advise you in connection with your rights.

Non-molestation and occupation orders

The Law relating to personal protection and occupation of the family home is governed by Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996.

If you are married, if you live together or if you have lived together, you can apply to Court for an Injunction.

  • To stop your partner harassing or assaulting you (Non-Molestation Order), and/or
  • To make your partner or your spouse leave the house (Occupation Order), and/or
  • To keep your partner or spouse out of the house (Occupation Order).

We will advise you on which application you should be making. These Orders are available with a Power of Arrest which will enable a Police Officer attending an incident where there has been domestic violence to arrest your spouse or the partner committing the offence.

If you are unable to tolerate the continuous violence and aggression inflicted upon you by your spouse or your partner you may wish to move out from the family home. The Police Officer who attends the scene of the incident may recommend and refer you to a refuge for temporary accommodation if they feel that you will be subject to further incidents of violence. We will also advise you on this aspect.

Anyone wishing to apply for a Non-Molestation Order or an Occupation Order will need to come under two definitions specified under the 1996 Act. These are Matrimonial Home Rights or Associated Persons.

Matrimonial home rights

These are rights of occupation of spouses. In practice most married couples hold property jointly. Their home will be owned in joint names or subject to a tenancy agreement where both spouses are named as joint tenants. However in some cases where there is only one party to the marriage who is legally entitled to occupy the matrimonial home, the Act gives Matrimonial Home Rights to the other non entitled spouse.

What are Matrimonial Home Rights?

  1. If in occupation, the right not to be evicted/excluded by the other spouse save with permission of the Court.
  2. If not in occupation, a right with permission of the Court to enter in to and occupy the home.

Associated Persons

These can include spouses and former spouses, cohabitants and former cohabitants. An Occupation Order can only be made against a dwelling house which is or has been the home of the person entitled and of the other person with whom he or she is associated or was intended by both persons to be their home.