The Slee Blackwell guide to Non-Molestation Orders
What is a non-molestation order?
Non-molestation Orders are injunctions that are granted by the family court in order to prevent you or your child(ren) from being harassed, pestered, intimidated or threatened. The aim of Non-Molestation Orders is to prevent you or your child(ren) from coming to any harm.
In emergency situations you should always contact the police, but a Non-Molestation Order ensures that you have protection going forward.
Can I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order against the following categories of people:
- Someone that you are married to or in a civil partnership with;
- Someone that you have been married to or have been in a civil partnership with;
- Someone that you cohabit with or have formerly cohabited with (except where you are employees, tenants, lodgers or borders);
- A relative, this includes in-laws and relatives of half-blood;
- Someone you have agreed to marry or form a civil partnership with, even if such an agreement was subsequently terminated;
- Someone you have a child with or share parental responsibility for a child with;
- Someone who is a party to the same family Court proceedings; or
- Someone you have had an intimate relationship with for a significant duration.
How do I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
When applying for a Non-Molestation Order you need to complete and file form FL401, which is 22 pages long, as well as a sworn statement in support of your application.
Does the other party need to know that I am applying for a Non-Molestation Order?
If you feel that you would be putting yourself or your child(ren) at risk by notifying the other party of your intentions to apply for a Non-Molestation Order you can apply to the court without notice. This ensures that the other party will not know about the application until it is served and simultaneously comes into effect.
The court will always attempt to serve the Order on the other party in person. Following this, both parties will need to attend a court hearing where the judge will determine whether the Order needs to remain in place or be dismissed after considering the statements of both parties and any filed evidence.
How long do Non-Molestation Orders last?
Non-Molestation Orders generally last for one year. This is not the same for all Non-Molestation Orders and at the hearing the court will determine how long they think the Order needs to remain in place for.
Non-Molestation Orders can be extended at the end of the initial period at the court’s discretion if you believe that you are still at risk of harm without the Order being in place.
Can Non-Molestation Orders be challenged?
If a Non-Molestation Order has been served on you unfairly you are able to challenge the Order. This is normally challenged at the hearing that follows the Order being made.
Can Non-Molestation Orders be discharged?
If one party does not think that the Order should remain in place or needs to be varied, they can contact the court explaining why they do not believe that the Order should remain in place. The court will then decide whether the Order should be varied or discharged.
What happens if a Non-Molestation Order is breached?
Breaching a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence and will be dealt with by the police. The police have the power to arrest and prosecute the offender. The maximum prison sentence for breaching a Non-Molestation Order is five years.
How we can help
If you believe that yourself or your child(ren) are at risk of harm it is advisable to contact a solicitor who will be able to advise and assist you when making an application to the court for a Non-Molestation Order. Once your application has been made your solicitor will be able to represent you at the subsequent hearing.
Our solicitors are highly experienced in dealing with Non-Molestation Orders in North Devon. Contact our free legal helpline by phone or email for free initial guidance. Give us a call on 0333 888 0404 or alternatively you can just send an email to us at [email protected].