In an ideal world, your home should be your safe haven, but sadly this is not always the case. For those living with an abusive partner, an Occupation Order can be used to control who is allowed to live in, enter, or even come near your family home. If you need assistance as you feel unsafe living at home. Ashmans Solicitors Family Law Team can advise you of the options available to you.
What is an Occupation Order?
These Orders can be used to return a property to you if you have been forced to leave because of physical and/or emotional abuse or threats. An Occupation Order does not change the financial ownership of a property though and it’s normally a short-term Order (6-12 months as a rule.) In some circumstances an Order can also be renewed. Orders can only be made in relation to a property where you both live, have lived or where you intend to live. Depending on who owns or rents the property and whether you are married. Also to include a civil partnership, divorced, living together, they can cover:
- The right to stay in the family home;
- Returning to a family home, e.g. being locked out;
- Exclude an individual from the family home or part of it despite a legal right to reside there, e.g. for violence or abuse;
- Name who will pay the rent/mortgage, bills and maintain the property in the absence of the other party;
- The right to stay at the family home for a specific time frame and protect a non-entitled applicant from eviction where the property is rented from a local authority/housing association, etc.;
- Set out areas of the home for each party to live in, and
- Protect home rights after the death of a spouse/civil partner or from divorce/dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership.
Who Can Apply for an Occupation Order?
You must be related or associated to the abuser in some way:
- Are or were ever married or engaged;
- Are or were living together as a couple (same sex/opposite sex relationships);
- You have the legal right to live in the home (as either the owner or a sole or joint tenant);
- Are or were in a civil partnership or had agreed to form one;
- You are/were living with a partner who is the owner or tenant of the property;
- Are related, including parents, children, siblings, grandparents, etc.;
- Have a child together, or share/shared parental responsibility of the child, or
- Are/were in an intimate relationship for a significant period of time.
You may still be able to apply for an Occupation order if you do not have a legal entitlement to occupy the property. If you are financially eligible you will qualify for Legal Aid – please see our page on Legal Aid. When you contact our Family Law Team at Ashmans Solicitors, we will complete all of the necessary court forms and then get a Court date listed for you. In emergency situations it may be possible to make an application to the Court within 24 hours of receiving instructions.
Always remember that we are here to take the worry off your shoulders. Contact Ashmans Solicitors now for a free, no-obligation enquiry. All enquiries are welcome. Ashmans Solicitors have offices in: Central London and East London, Dewsbury, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Leeds. Please see the Contact Us page for exact location details. Feel free to drop us a line. Give us a call. Alternatively pay us a visit.
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