What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order stops anyone “associated” with you from molesting you or a relevant child. “Molestation” is not defined in law, but a non-molestation order could be used to protect you from violence, harassment and threats.
Molesting can include behaviour that harms, troubles or pesters you for example, or any relevant children. Molestation can also be committed indirectly, for example though a third party or via social media, text messages or phone calls.
What sort of behaviours constitute domestic violence and domestic abuse?
Domestic violence or abuse includes physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. There is no exhaustive definition of domestic violence or abuse. Some types of violence are physical such as assault and damage to property. Other types of domestic abuse are not physical but will include threats, harassment, criticism, controlling behaviour such as isolating you from friends and family, financial exploitation, and coercive behaviour such as the use of humiliation or intimidation to control you.
Who can apply?
A non-molestation order can only be applied for if you are “associated “with the respondent.
What’s the definition of an associated person?
The following are examples of persons you will be associated with if:-
- You have been married to them or have been civil partners.
- You are cohabitants or former cohabitants.
- You live or have lived in the same household, otherwise than by reason of one of you being the other’s employee, tenant, lodger or boarder.
- You are related.
- You have agreed to marry one another (whether or not that agreement is still in existence).
- You have had an intimate personal relationship with each other which is or was of significant duration.
- You have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not that agreement is still in existence).
- In relation to any child, you are a parent of the child or you have or have had parental responsibility for the child.
Can a non-molestation order keep someone away from my home or workplace?
Yes, the court can make stay away or “zonal orders”, preventing the respondent from entering (or attempting to enter) a defined area, such as
- A defined geographical area, for example a prohibition on the respondent going within a specified number of metres of the your home.
- A road or roads.
- A building (for example, a school or residential building).
- A room or rooms in the family home.
How do I apply for a non-molestation order?
To commence proceedings for a non-molestation order, the following items should be submitted to the court:
- An application for a non-molestation order on form FL401
- A witness statement in support verified by a statement of truth
There is currently no court fee payable
Does the Respondent have to be at the court hearing?
Not always – the court could deal with your application on paper, list it for an on notice hearing so the Respondent would know about it in advance or list a hearing without notice to the Respondent, when they wouldn’t know about it, if it seems that there is a “risk of significant harm to you or a relevant child, attributable to the conduct of the respondent, if the order is not made immediately”. However in these cases there will need to be a further hearing so the Respondent can address the court in relation to the allegations you have made against them. The court will then decide whether the order is to continue or whether your case should proceed to a further hearing.
Can I be kept separate from the Respondent at court?
Yes, you can apply for a separate waiting room at court, a separate entrance and exit from the court building, to be shielded by a privacy screen in the court room or to join the hearing via a video link rather than in person. These are collectively known as “special measures”.
When does a non-molestation order become effective? An order becomes effective when it has been personally served on the respondent. Although the order should always be personally served on the respondent the court may order that it comes into force from the time the respondent is made aware of the terms of the order, for example by email.
How long will it last for?
Usually a non-molestation order is made for twelve months but it is possible to apply for further orders.
What happens if the non-molestation order is breached?
Breaching a non-molestation order is an arrestable criminal offence potentially punishable with up to five years imprisonment or as a contempt of court.
How can Lincolns Family Law help?
If you feel that you are in need of the protection offered by a non-molestation order we can make an urgent application to the court on your behalf often on a same day basis. We can arrange for a non-molestation order to be personally served upon the Respondent. We can represent you at court and provide a fixed fee quote for the work we do for you, so you know what you will pay in advance.