What does a non-molestation order do?
A Non-Molestation Order, commonly referred to as an Injunction, is an order for protection applied for in the Family Court and is obtained to try and prevent the person against whom the order is made (‘the respondent'), normally your partner/spouse or former partner/spouse, from doing certain things. Read on for a full explanation of the terms involved in a non-molestation order.
The usual clauses of an non-molestation order, are as follows :-
The respondent is prohibited from using or threatening violence against the applicant;
The respondent is prohibited from using or threatening violence against any relevant child – for this clause to be included there has to have been an incident where a child has been directly involved or a threat has been made to harm the child;
• The respondent is prohibited from intimidating, harassing or pestering the applicant or any relevant child – this covers the common situation of a respondent sending numerous texts, emails or messages by social media, usually late at night or in the early hours of the morning;
• The respondent is prohibited from communicating with or attempting to communicate with the applicant by any method, except through her solicitor and/or from contacting any relevant child – this really does include any method from letters through to all forms of social media. This clause can be altered to include that the respondent can contact the applicant for the purpose of child arrangements, however the Court will first need to be satisfied that contact between the respondent and the child or children should be taking place;
• The respondent is prohibited from damaging, attempting to damage or threatening to damage any property owned by the applicant or in the possession or control of the applicant, (whether in their sole name or jointly with another);
• The respondent is prohibited from damaging attempting to damage or threatening to damage the property or contents of the family home;
• The respondent cannot instruct, encourage or in any way suggest that any other person should do any of the above on his/her behalf
If the respondent has no rights to the family home, e.g it is rented in the sole name of the applicant, or the parties are not married and the property is in the sole name of the applicant, then the Court can also order that the respondent must not go to, enter, attempt to enter or come within a certain distance of the property.
If the applicant has moved to an address that is unknown to the respondent, and it is unlikely that the respondent will have any need to be on that particular street, then wording can be included to prevent the respondent from going to, entering or attempting to enter any property at which the respondent is aware or believes that the applicant is living.
Certain situations may require specific wording, for example if the applicant lives on a main road and the respondent cannot travel to work any other way other than by driving past the applicant’s home, the order can be tailored to say that the respondent can travel along the road but must not park or get out of the vehicle.
This clause can also be altered to enable the respondent to collect a child or children for contact and return them home afterwards.
If the property is rented in the joint names of the applicant and the respondent, or the parties are married, then the application form should be completed to confirm that the applicant also seeks an Occupation Order. This is because the respondent will have legal or beneficial rights to occupy the property and the Court will need to determine who remains living there.
If there is a clear risk that the respondent may try to remove any child/children from school, then the order can prohibit the respondent from going to, entering or attempting to enter the school, and from going within a certain distance of it. It can be clarified that the respondent is only prevented from going near the school in term-time, between certain hours, and he/she can enter the school by prior written invitation from the school authorities.
The Court can also be asked to include any other provision should the case require it.
Sadly, the Non-Molestation Order does not prevent every respondent from complying in which case the matter then passes to the criminal court for breach.