Non-Molestation Order

A Non-molestation Order is a kind of injunction which can protect a person and any relevant child from violence or harassment

Individual’s can obtain a Non-molestation Order against someone who has been physically violent or against someone who is harassing, intimidating or pestering them. The individual can apply for a Non-molestation Order even if they still want to (or have to) live with their abuser

Examples of what a Non-molestation Order might include:

  • The abuser must not be violent, threaten violence, intimidate, pester or harass the client
  • The abuser must not contact the client by telephone, email, social media or in person
  • The abuser must not attend or contact for any reason the client’s place of work

When deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order the court will consider all of the individual’s circumstances, including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of them and any children

Therefore the individual will need to show the Court how their health, safety or well-being or that of their children would be at risk if they are not granted the Order

If the individual owns the home or the tenancy to the home in their sole name, they are not married to the abuser and the abuser has no legal entitlement to the home then the non-molestation order can also stop the abuser from coming to the home otherwise, if the individual wants to stop the abuser from coming to the home then they need to apply for an Occupation Order

Occupation Order

An Occupation Order is a type of injunction which deals with who lives at the family home

An Occupation Order can:

  • Order the abuser to move out of the home or to stay away from the home
  • Order the abuser to keep a certain distance away from the home
  • Order the abuser to stay in certain parts of the home at certain times (for example it can order that they sleep in a different bedroom)
  • Order the abuser to allow the victim back into the home if they have been locked out
  • Order them to continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills

When deciding whether to grant an occupation order the court will consider a number of factors including:

  • The housing needs and resources of the victim, the abuser and any children
  • The financial resources of both
  • The likely effect any order, or not making an order, will have on the victim, the abuser and any children
  • The behaviour to one another
  • The court may also look at the harm that the victim and any children might suffer if the order is not granted and the harm that the abuser and any children might suffer if it is

The Court can make both a Non-molestation Order and an Occupation Order if it is appropriate

Child Arrangements Order

Child Arrangement Orders have replaced what were previously known as “Contact Orders” and “Residence Orders”. “Custody” and “Access” are also very old terms which are no longer used by the Family Court

These orders decide who the child is to live with or spend time with, and can be granted to more than one person whether they live together or not. If a child arrangements order states that the child will live with a person, that person will have parental responsibility for that child until the order ceases. Contact with a child can either be direct (such as face-to-face) or indirect (such as by the exchange of letters).

Some orders will make very specific arrangements for the child; other orders will be more open with detailed arrangements to be made between the parties by agreement. Child arrangements orders are not only made in respect of parents; there can also be orders for arrangements between siblings and wider family members. Sometimes the order will give directions that contact is to be supervised by a third person, or that contact is to take place in a specific location.

Failure to comply with an order may result in the court making further orders specifying activities for a party to undertake or the court making other enforcement orders which can include an order for unpaid work.


When making any decision about a child the Court’s primary consideration is the welfare of that child. The Court will only make an Order if they believe that it is better for the child that the Order is in force than not making any order at all. This means the Court will not usually make an Order to confirm that the child lives with one parent if nobody is disputing that the child should live with them

The Court will consider all the child’s circumstances and in particular the following factors:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings depending on her or his age and understanding (generally the older your child is the more emphasis the Court will place on those wishes and feelings)
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs (this includes practical needs such as accommodation and food as well as love and affection)
  • The likely effect on the child of any change in her or his circumstances (the Court will look at the previous or existing arrangements, and generally considers that change can be disruptive to a child)
  • The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics the Court thinks relevant (this could include any cultural or religious needs or any special needs or disabilities the child might have)
  • Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering (this includes physical, sexual or emotional abuse and now also includes any domestic violence the child has seen or heard)
  • How capable both parents are of meeting the child’s needs (the Court can consider both parent’s skills in looking after the child and can consider whether these are impaired, for example, by drink or drugs)
  • The range of powers available to the Court

There is a presumption that it is in a child’s interests to have both parents involved in the child’s life, unless there is a good reason why the other parent should not be involved. This could mean direct involvement (such as seeing the child regularly) or indirect involvement (such as by letters and cards)

Specific Issues Orders

A Specific Issue Order is a type of court order granted by the Family Court. It determines how a dispute over a child’s upbringing or wellbeing should be resolved. It is used for specific issues, such as decisions regarding the child’s name or education.

Anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a Specific Issue Order. Even if you don’t have parental responsibility for the child, you may be able to apply if you get the court’s permission.

A Specific Issue Order can be used to resolve various kinds of dispute, including:

  • Whether a child should change their name
  • Whether a child should receive certain medical treatment, e.g., vaccinations
  • Whether a child should have any religious education
  • Decisions on where the child should attend school
  • Permission to take the child abroad
  • Preventing someone from having contact with the child (in certain circumstances)

Prohibited Steps Orders

A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order the court can make to forbid a person who has Parental Responsibilities (PR) for a child from taking certain action in relation to that child

The client can ask the court to make a PSO forbidding the child’s other parent or another person with PR to:

  • Remove the child from their care
  • Remove the child from school
  • Take the child abroad
  • Bring the child into contact with certain people
  • Change the child’s surname

The Court can make these orders without the other person being given notice of the hearing in an emergency.

The Court may make a temporary or interim PSO and arrange another hearing for when the other person can attend and make their submissions to the Court.

A PSO could be made to last indefinitely