Protection and Occupation Orders

Why apply for an Occupation Order?

This is often applied by someone who has suffered domestic abuse. They no longer wish for the other party to live in the home because they are frightened of them due to the abuse they have suffered, and they require some protection. Although a Non-Molestation Order can be applied for to prevent someone from coming near a person or property, or to provide protection from harm, this does not deal with who should live in the property.

In order to apply for an Occupation Order, you must have a close relationship with the other party, for example, married couples, civil partners or cohabiting.  There are other classes of people who are also entitled to apply for Occupation Orders.

The decision the Court has to make in respect of who can live in a property is not an easy decision for them to make. The Court has to consider lots of different factors before deciding who can remain living there and who cannot. The Court applies what is called the ‘Balance of Harm’ Test and will consider a number of factors, including the needs of any child involved and the risk involved.

If an Occupation Order is made, it does not change the ownership of the property, it simply confirms who can remain living in the property. The Court can also make an Order as to who shall pay the mortgage or rent, repair and maintain the property. The Court will only make an Order if it is really necessary as it prevents a person who is legally entitled to occupy a property from living in their home.

An Occupation Order is limited in duration, usually for 6 months.

If you feel you need to apply for an Occupation Order or you have been served with an application for an Occupation Order, our specialist team will be able to advise you on your next steps.

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