Domestic abuse solicitors
If domestic abuse is a feature of your case, our experienced family lawyers can provide timely assistance to help you protect yourself or your loved ones.
Domestic abuse can take many forms. Often the victim is too ashamed or embarrassed to discuss it outside the family, leaving them without any assistance until the relationship has broken down and they are seeking to leave.
Our empathetic and highly skilled domestic abuse solicitors have a wealth of experience in assisting both victims and alleged perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Getting an injunction
You can apply for two types of injunction to protect your family:
- a non-molestation order – to prevent your ex-partner from contacting you
- an occupation order – to exclude him or her from your home.
Find out more about these orders below.
We can be available out of hours to provide the support that you and your family need at this traumatic time, and can secure protective orders for you without notifying your ex-partner if you are concerned about your or your children’s safety.
Sometimes our clients will also find themselves accused of domestic abuse. We will always represent our clients’ interests to achieve the best outcome possible.
We recognise that seeking advice on these issues can be stressful and worrying. Our lawyers are here to help in a sensitive and supportive manner, at very short notice if needed.
If you would like further assistance, please get in touch.
Instructed by an unmarried cohabitee to advise on potential claims for financial provision for children under Schedule 1 of the Children’s Act 1989.
Instructed on behalf of a business man in respect of injunction proceedings with the family and criminal court, financial provision claim, child maintenance tribunal and possession proceedings. All applications arose from a relationship with former partner.
Acting for an international businessman to defend an application for avoidance of disposition order in a case with assets of approximately £20m.
The law defines ‘domestic abuse’ as behaviour of a person (‘A’) towards another person (‘B’) if the following conditions are met:
(a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
(b) the behaviour is abusive.
Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following –
(a) physical or sexual abuse
(b) violent or threatening behaviour
(c) controlling or coercive behaviour
(d) economic abuse
(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse.
It doesn’t matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.
The law also defines ‘economic abuse’ as any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on B’s ability to:
(a) acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or
(b) obtain goods or services.
A’s behaviour may be behaviour towards B despite the fact that it consists of conduct directed at another person (for example, B’s child).
The law says that two people are ‘personally connected’ to each other if any of the following applies:
(a) they are, or have been, married to each other
(b) they are, or have been, civil partners of each other
(c) they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated)
(d) they have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated)
(e) they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship with each other
(f) they each have, or there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child
(g) they are relatives.
A person has a ‘parental relationship’ in relation to a child if:
(a) the person is a parent of the child, or
(b) the person has parental responsibility for the child.
A non-molestation order is an order under the Family Law Act 1996 which prohibits the respondent from molesting an associated person (a family member or ex-partner) or any relevant children. If you are the one seeking the order, then your ex-partner will be the respondent, and the order can protect you and your children.
A non-molestation order commonly states that a respondent must not:
- Use or threaten violence towards the applicant or any relevant children.
- Intimidate, harass or pester the applicant or any relevant children.
- Contact the applicant or any relevant children directly or indirectly.
- Damage, attempt to damage or threaten to damage the family home or any property belonging to the applicant.
- Instruct or encourage another person to take any of the above actions.
A non-molestation order can also include a zonal restriction. This means that the respondent is prohibited from attending or coming within a specified distance of the family home, the children’s schools or other property.
An occupation order is an order made under the Family Law Act 1996 which determines who should live in a property. Orders can also regulate who will live in each section of the home.
The order can exclude one party from the home or from a defined area within the home. That party may also be excluded from a defined area surrounding the property.
An order may also require one party to permit another party to enter the property or part of the property.
Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. If a person disobeys the terms of a non-molestation order the police may arrest them and the case will be dealt with by the criminal courts.
The current categories of people who you can obtain an injunction against under the Family Law Act 1996 include the following:
- People who are or have been married or in a civil partnership with each other
- People who are or were living together in a cohabiting relationship
- Those who live or have lived in the same household but as more than a tenant or lodger
- Those who are related
- Those who agreed to marry or enter into a civil partnership
- Those who have had an intimate personal relationship of significant duration.
These days injunction hearings are usually arranged within one to three days’ notice to the other party. Notice can often be given by email or text.
It is possible to obtain an injunction without your ex-partner being told in advance if urgency is required and you are worried about your safety, but this is now very rare. In making a decision as to whether the order should be made without notice to your ex-partner, the court will consider all the circumstances, including any risk of significant harm to you or your children.
The court will make a judgment as to whether an order should be made immediately, or whether a hearing should be arranged first in order that both you and your ex-partner can put forward your own sides to the story. If an order is made ‘without notice’ to your ex-partner, a full hearing must be listed as soon as possible afterwards to give your ex-partner the opportunity to explain their position.
It may be therefore that your ex-partner is told that you are seeking an injunction before the order is in place, and we can discuss with you how best to manage this if it arises.
If an order is made in your ex-partner’s absence, we are then required to formally serve it on him or her, as it is not effective until copies of the documents have been served.