What are Occupation Orders?

When disputes arise regarding the future occupation of a property, the court can clarify who is entitled to residency by serving a type of injunction called an occupation order.

Occupation orders are commonly served against abusive partners, so that victims can live in the property safely and peacefully without fear of the abusive ex-partner returning.

What is the Purpose of an Occupation Order?

Occupation orders can be used to grant someone access back into their property and/or to keep certain people away from a property and its surrounding areas.

Our family law solicitors have seen upsetting instances of clients being locked out of their homes or forced to share a living space with their abusive ex-partner causing them to feel unsafe inside their own home.

We can help you secure your occupation order as this injunction can prevent this type of situation from continuing, allowing you to safely live in your own home.

You won’t need to be worried about unclarity about financial matters as the order can be tailored to include provisions stating who is responsible for maintaining the property and who should be paying, or contributing to, the mortgage or rent bills.

We will ensure that all terms of the occupation order are fair and protect you from your abusive ex, helping you find safety in your own home.

Who can Apply for an Occupation Order?

First and foremost, you must be able to show that you are in some way associated with the person you want to file the order against.

This means having a relationship with them of some kind, whether they are your partner, ex-partner, relative, co-habitant or someone you have been involved with in court proceedings before.

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

How Legally-Binding are Occupation Orders?

Whilst occupation orders have no impact on the legal ownership of a property, the offender must abide by its terms or else they will face arrest and a potential jail sentence of up to five years.

The length of your occupation order will depend on your circumstances, but they generally last between six and twelve months and may be replaced by a further order if this proves to be necessary.

What will the Court Consider when Reviewing your Application?

When deciding whether or not to grant you your occupation order, the judge will consider:

  • The housing needs of you and your family
  • The behaviour and conduct of both you and your partner
  • Your financial situation
  • The impact the occupation order will have on everyone involved, also known as the ‘balance of harm’

In some cases, the judge may decide it’s necessary to impose both an occupation and a non-molestation order, especially when the case involves a particularly aggressive or violent offender.  

Expert Guidance on Applying for an Occupation Order

Over the years, our team have utilised their knowledge, experience and people skills to handle domestic violence cases accurately and with the utmost level of compassion.

We have had much success in granting occupation orders on behalf of our clients within all different types of family arrangements, all of which were granted swiftly to offer the appropriate protection necessary.

You should not have to live in fear, contact our family law team today to discuss your situation in complete confidentiality.

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