An Occupation Order is a type of injunction. It enforces who has the right to live in a home; it can remove one party from the home and can give a right to the other party to enter or remain in the house. Occupation Orders usually coincide with Non-Molestation Orders, but this is not always the case. It can be applied whether there is found to be domestic abuse, or in limited circumstances, where there is simply a dispute as to who should occupy the home.
An Order can also distinguish between certain parts of a property, in cases where separating spouses continue to reside in different parts of the same house. It can also determine a particular party’s contribution towards utility bills, rent or mortgage on the property. However, a successful application for an Occupation Order does not change the financial ownership of a property.
Who can apply for an Occupation Order?
As with a Non-Molestation Order, an Occupation Order can only be sought against an associated person.
The term ‘associated person’ is defined within the Family Law Act 1996. The list of associated persons include spouses, ex-spouses, cohabitants or former cohabitants, a close family member or parties who have or have had an intimidate personal relationship with each other which is or was of a significant duration.
You must also be able to demonstrate that the property is either your home (or was intended to be your home) and that you are either entitled to occupy the property or you have matrimonial home rights.
How long does an Occupation Order last?
Occupation Orders are usually made for a limited period of time, often between six to twelve months. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an Order can be made until a specific event or until further Order of the Court. Occupation Orders can also be extended for periods of six months at a time.
How long does it take to get an Occupation Order?
An application for an Occupation Order can be made in 24 hours in an emergency. In the most serious cases where there is a risk of significant harm to the individual, the courts can grant an Occupation Order without notice to the respondent.