I’ve been served with a non-molestation order, what can I do?

In this post, we share a quick guide to non-molestation orders, who can apply for them and what to do if you’re served with one. We hope you find the information helpful. Please note, it is not intended to replace legal advice.

If you’d like to dispute a non-molestation order, we can help. Contact our office to book your free 15 minute consultation and find out your options.  

What is a non-molestation order?

A Non-Molestation Order protects you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who’s abusing you. You, or a relevant child, must be at risk of “significant harm.”  The order seeks to protect the applicant and any children from being molested by the respondent. They are frequently used in cases of domestic abuse.

  • Applicant = the person applying for the order
  • Respondent = the accused person

If you need an injunction to decide who can live in the family home or enter the surrounding area, you may need to apply for an ‘occupation order.’  Contact our team if you need advice to apply or respond to either a non-molestation order or occupation order.

If you’re in immediate danger of being abused or have been abused, report it to the police.

Who can apply for a non-molestation order?

Under the Family Law Act, you must be an ‘Associated Person’ in order to apply for a non-molestation order.  In short, you can usually apply if you’re a victim of domestic abuse and the person you want to be protected from is:

  • someone you’re having or have had a relationship with
  • a family member
  • someone you’re living or have lived with
Husband, wife, civil partner or other relationship

You can apply if you’re a victim of domestic abuse and the respondent is your:

  • husband, wife or civil partner
  • former husband, former wife or former civil partner
  • fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • former fiancé, former fiancée or former proposed civil partner – if your engagement or agreement to form a civil partnership ended less than 3 years ago
  • boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or a person you’re in or have been in a relationship with for more than 6 months

There is no guarantee that a non-molestation application will be successful. If you need legal advice, contact our team to book your free 15 minute consultation on 01274 727373.

What Are The Costs? 

  • Applicant:  there’s no fee when you apply for the court order, but you may need to pay for any legal advice.  You may be eligible for legal aid – check here.
  • Respondent: you will need to pay for any legal advice – there is no legal aid. SKB Law offer a free 15 minute consultation to find out your options as well as affordable legal fees (fixed fee and hourly rates with payment plans).

What are my options if I’m served with a non-molestation order?

If you’ve been served with a non-molestation order, you will have the opportunity to respond to the application. If the Order you receive is made “without notice,” the Court will list a hearing within 14 days. We understand you may be feeling a range of emotions but it’s important to focus on your next steps.  A solicitor can advise you on what to do next – whether you want to agree to the undertaking or challenge the Order (and your prospects of success).

You Can Accept The Order (on a ‘no admission’ basis)

You have the option to accept and follow the order.  The ‘no-admission’ basis means you do not accept the allegations against you but will accept the terms of the Order. The length of an order can vary. They are usually last between 6 to 12 months – or until further notice.  During that time, it is a criminal offence to breach the order.

You may be concerned about what this means if you have children.  Getting early legal advice can help you understand your options.

You Can Defend The Order

Defending a non-molestation order means you refuse to accept it. Depending on the situation, the Judge may make an interim order and ask you submit a statement.  You will need to gather supporting evidence, prepare a statement and attend the court, where the judge will make a decision.  Given the short deadline to reply to the Order, you may wish to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible. In the meantime, any breach of the non-molestation order is a criminal offence.  We can help you plan your next steps and respond to the non-molestation order.  Call our team to book an appointment with our team on 01274 727373. We offer free 15 minute consultations to find out your next steps.

You Can Provide An Undertaking

You can agree to give an undertaking to the court. An ‘undertaking’ is a promise to the court about your future behaviour. It may be the same wording used in the non-molestation order, for example, not contacting the applicant for four months.  Providing an undertaking does not mean that you admit to the allegations. You can give the undertaking to the court on the basis that you do not agree with the allegations. Many people find that agreeing to the undertaking is a way to reduce the stress and cost of attending court – and also the conflict that can cause if children are involved.  A solicitor is best placed to advise you about your options and next steps. Call our team to book an appointment with our team on 01274 727373. We offer free 15 minute consultations to find out your next steps.

What Happens If You Breach A Non-Molestation Order?

A breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. The criminal courts have a range of sentencing options available to them – the maximum sentence is 5 years imprisonment and a fine.

SKB Law – Family Law Specialists

We hope you found the information in this post helpful. Please note, it is not intended to replace legal advice. SKB Law is an award-winning family law team supporting people across England & Wales in person, by phone or video. We have significant experience helping clients with non-molestation orders. Visit Review Solicitors to find out more about the firm and read our reviews.  If you’d like to speak to our team, call our office on 01274 727373.

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