Occupation Order (family injunctions)

Occupation order family injunction legal support
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi

Cartwright King’s dedicated Family Law team can help you secure family-based injunctions, including Occupation Orders. Whether you want to protect your rights to stay in the family home or return to the family home having been locked out, benefit from our high success rate in obtaining Occupation OrdersGet in touch with our specialist Family Law team now to apply for an Occupation Order.

What is an Occupation Order?

An occupation order sets out who has the right to stay at the family home, who can return and who should be excluded and it is issued by the family court under Part IV Family Law Act 1996. An occupational order is commonly served against abusive partners in order to keep the abusive partner away from the property of the victim.

Occupation orders help to ensure that victims can live in the property safely and peacefully, without fear of the abusive ex-partner returning.

An order does not change the financial ownership of a property. This is normally a short term arrangement, and its duration will depend on your needs. Usually, it will last for six or twelve months. In some circumstances, an Order can also be renewed. Orders can only be made in relation to a property where you both live, have lived or intend to live in.

The order can be tailored to include who is responsible for maintaining the property and who should be paying, or contributing to, the mortgage or rent and bills.

Who Can Apply for an Occupational Order?

You must be able to show that you are in some way associated with the person you want to file the occupation order against. This means that you will have a relationship of some kind with them, whether they are your partner, ex-partner, relative, co-habitant or someone you have been involved in court proceedings before.

You must also be able to prove that are legally entitled to live in the property, either as an owner, joint-owner or tenant. You can also apply if you were married to the owner or legal tenant.

Non Molestation Orders

Where domestic abuse or violence has occurred, we will usually also apply for a non-molestation order. This is an order to protect the individual from violence and also serious forms of harassment, pestering or any other conduct requiring the intervention of the court. It can include children.

We can explain what this means in further detail at our first meeting.

How Cartwright King can help with Occupation Orders

Protecting your legal rights and best interests is our priority. That’s why Cartwright King will work with you to obtain an Occupation Order that suits your needs. Our professional solicitors will do everything they can to ensure your case is properly presented, highlighting any harm to you that may occur if an order isn’t granted.

We can help with:

  • Owner or joint owner Occupation Orders
  • Tenant Occupation Orders
  • Right to remain in the family home
  • Returning to the family home

Benefit From a Short, Initial Telephone Conversation

You can benefit from a short, initial telephone call with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor to assess your options.

There’s no substitute for speaking to one of our specialist solicitors to get realistic, clear advice that will help you file for an Occupation Order.

For immediate assistance, call us or email us for your short initial discussion.

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to assess your case and consider funding options. This will then allow us to make a formal appointment with you so that we can:

  • Get to know you
  • Understand your situation
  • Offer detailed advice
  • Agree how you want to proceed

Why Choose Cartwright King For Occupation Orders?

Personal, pro-active and productive, three defining traits of Cartwright King’s service, which combine to give you the best possible chance of securing an Occupation Order.

Our advice is backed by our experience of dealing with all types of Occupation Order applications. You can trust this experience to help guide you through the process as there aren’t many situations we haven’t come across before when dealing with Occupation Orders.

Cartwright King’s Family Law team goes above and beyond to give you the support you need, for added peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

We listen, we understand and we genuinely care about protecting your best interests. That’s why we offer sound, honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that you’re prepared for the process, while giving you a voice that’s heard.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case.

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and ensuring that you’re taken seriously and treated fairly. When you need us most, we’ll be there to offer sound, sensible legal advice and sure guidance.

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you counsel that you can count on.

Legal Fees

We offer a fixed fee service in some circumstances for private paying individuals. For an idea of legal fees, get in touch with us.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

Can I apply for an Occupation Order?

There are different types of Occupation Order available depending on your interest in the property and relationship to the other party.

Generally, you can apply for an order if you are:

  • The owner or joint owner of the property
  • A tenant
  • If you have any financial interest in the property
  • If you are or have been the spouse, civil partner or cohabitee of an owner, tenant or someone who has a financial interest in the property or a previous property

How do I apply for an Occupation Order?

Contact Cartwright King. We will take care of your Occupation Order application, file it with the Court and get you a Court date. In emergency situations, we will do everything we can to file your application with the Court within 24 hours of receiving your instructions.

What does an Occupation Order cover?

Depending on who owns or rents the property and whether you are married, in a civil partnership, divorced or living together, Occupation Orders can cover:

  • The right to stay in the family home
  • Returning to a family home, e.g. locked out
  • The exclusion of an individual from the family home, or part of it, despite a legal right to reside there, e.g. for violence or abuse
  • Who’s responsible for paying the rent, mortgage and bills and maintaining the property in the absence of the other party
  • The right to stay at the family home for a specific time frame and protect a non-entitled applicant from eviction where the property is rented from a local authority or housing association etc
  • Set out areas of the home for each party to live in
  • Protect home rights after the death of a spouse/civil partner or from divorce/dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership

What will the Court consider before granting an Occupation Order?

The Court will take into account:

  • The housing needs for you, your children and your partner
  • What might happen if someone is made homeless and the likely effect of any other type of order
  • How your, your partner’s or child’s wellbeing, mental health, physical health and safety will be affected by the making of any order and how this compares to what would happen if no order was made
  • Yours and your partner’s behaviour
  • Yours and your partner’s financial resources

If children are involved, the court will use the balance of harm test. This is a test that will balance the harm the person applying or the relevant child would suffer in the case of the occupation order not being granted. However, exceptions to the balance of harm test can be applied if it is felt that the respondent or child may suffer significant harm if an occupation order is carried out.

Who pays the rent or mortgage if an Occupation Order is granted?

Section 40 of the Family Law Act 1996 gives the Court the authority to include in the order, provision for payment of any rent or mortgage on the property or assist in the payment of an excluded party’s housing costs.

What happens if the occupation order is broken?

Whilst occupation orders have no impact on the legal ownership of a property, the offender must abide by its terms.  If an occupation order is breached, it isn’t automatically classed as a criminal offence. However, the court can attach a power of arrest to one or more occupation order provisions.

The length of time that the order will be valid will depend on your circumstances, but they generally last between six and twelve months. If necessary, they can be replaced by a further order when they expire.

Typically the court will attach a power of arrest if they believe that the respondent has used or threatened violence. The punishment for breaking the court order is a fine of up to £5,000, or they could face up to two years in prison.

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