Can a non-molestation order prevent someone bothering me?
Domestic abuse can impact people, of any age or race and is seen across all parts of society. ‘I often see clients that are frightened, perhaps having been cut off from family and friends, and having endured abuse for such a period that their own self-worth is diminished,’ says our family law expert, Diana Rose. ‘Obtaining a non-molestation order can prevent your former partner contacting you again and can give you the breathing space to rebuild your life.’
What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order is a type of injunction. It is an order from the court that forbids a person you know from threatening or using violence against you. It bans them from pestering, molesting, or harassing you.
Who can be stopped?
A non-molestation order can be obtained against a partner, a former partner, and other relatives too. The legislation states you must be associated to the person you are seeking the order against.
What are the grounds for a non-molestation order?
When deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order, the court will consider all relevant circumstances including the need to protect you and any children. What constitutes molestation is not defined in the legislation, but it has been found in practice to cover a wide range of abusive behaviours such as verbal, sexual, or financial abuse. One of our expert family lawyers will take the time to discuss with you the nature of your relationship and look at all aspects of how you have been treated.
How can I obtain a non-molestation order?
It is necessary to provide a statement to the court outlining the abuse you have suffered and why you require the protection of an order. We will draft this statement after taking your detailed instructions and prepare the necessary supporting court forms.
Most non-molestation orders are obtained ex-parte, which means without notifying the other person first. This is permitted in these cases due to the higher level of protection it gives to you. If an ex-parte order is made, then the order will be served on your former partner and a new court date will be set to allow them to attend and have their say.
If a non-molestation order is contested, then a hearing will be needed. The judge will hear evidence from you both before making a decision. We will represent your interests at the hearing and cross examine your former partner regarding their abusive behaviour. Most orders are made for a 12-month period. This can be extended or varied if circumstances should change.
What happens if a non-molestation order is breached?
Sadly, not all non-molestation orders are respected by the person they are made against as there is a section of society that has no respect for the law and may ignore the order. It is important that you also take practical steps to protect your safety. You may want to look at installing cameras around your home or a panic button. Also, consider changing the locks if your former partner previously had keys.
If a non-molestation order is breached, you should contact the police immediately. They will arrest your former partner if they have breached the order, as this constitutes a criminal offence.
For further information, please contact Diana Rose in the family law team on 01604 622101 or email [email protected]
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.
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