An ‘Occupation Order’ is a court order that protects someone who is being abused by their partner or another close relative. It is in effect an injunction, which orders someone to do, or not to do, something. Occupation orders were created by the Family Law Act 1996, Part IV. If you and someone you live with have fallen out, you can apply to the court to get an occupation order against them. This order decides who should stay and who should go, and can prevent your partner from entering both your home and the surrounding area. This is an ideal remedy for those who do not feel safe continuing to live with your partner. It is also a remedy for those who have left your home because of domestic violence or abuse, but want to return to live at your home without the person abusing you.
If the person against whom the order is made subsequently breaches it, it may be possible to have them arrested. That said, an occupation order is not necessarily the right thing in all cases. In some situations, it can make things worse rather than better. In others, the order may make very little difference.
Who Can Apply?
In order to be able to obtain an occupation order against someone you have to be ‘associated’ with them. This means that you need to be related in some way. These are:
people who live together, or used to
people who live in the same household
people who are related to you
your fiancé, fiancée or someone you used to be engaged to
the parent of your child, or a person who has parental responsibility of your child
someone with whom you are in an intimate relationship, which has been going on for some time
someone against whom you have already started family court proceedings
If none of these apply to you, and you are being threatened, stalked, harassed, or abused after a relationship has ended you can still apply for a civil injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. It is also possible, where criminal proceedings have already commenced, to apply for a restraining order at the same time. This is the case even if the criminal proceedings do not result in a conviction.
Unless you are on certain benefits you may have to pay to take out a civil injunction. Beware of ‘do it yourself’ websites that offer you an injunction for less than £100. Whilst this may seem like a cheap and easy option, it can be easy to make mistakes and you might not end up with a valid order. If you think that you may benefit from legal advice, make sure you go to an experienced family law solicitor.
Property and Occupation Orders
In order to be able to apply for an occupation order you must be able to show that you are legally entitled to stay in the property, either as a tenant or owner of the property. In the alternative, you need to be able to show that you are married to or living with, the person who owns or rents the property, and that person must be of the opposite sex.
When you get an injunction, it is normally for a specified period of time such as one year or six months. It is possible to renew the order. It is also possible to get an indefinite order which remains in place until it is taken away. An occupation order can only be extended beyond a one year period if you are legally entitled to live in the property (owner, co-owner, tenant or because you were married to the owner or tenant.)
My husband is an alcoholic. We have 2 young children. My husband was staying at his parents but they now refuse to have him there. So he has come back home. We jointly own the house so legally I can't stop him.
For the safety of my children (and my own sanity) we are now staying at my parents house. This is not a long term solution. I want my children back in their home.
My husband is also about to lose his job, so will not have any money to contribute towards the mortgage, nor to pay to live elsewhere.
Can I get an occupation order, if he has nowhere else to live?
Confused - 22-Feb-21 @ 5:45 PM
Me and my partner Alice we live together for almost one year. We have one little baby named Joan and i also live with my daughter from a previous marriage ( she is ten next month).
My current partner Alice is over protected with our kid and it is quite a challenge to live with her under the same roof as she become sometimes verbally abusive, she made allkind ofthreats etc
The house we are currently living is on my name and i pay for mortgages, all bills( electricity, gas, water, council tax etc) and also for food.
This situation where she is abusive with everyone lasted for 6 months now.
How can i make her legally leave ? She doesn' t want to leave and she made threats she is a women and women have rights to do anything they want in UK. Should i apply for a eviction order?
Bob - 29-Aug-20 @ 4:24 PM
Hi my partner is seeking to get me out of the property we are both tenants on through the council.We have a 3 bed home as I have a daughter from a previous relationship who also stays herefortnightly . She is sitting emotional abuse (which is not true) there is no danger to the children ( we have 2 little boys together ) But if I cant sty at the property I will be homeless and have no where to live with either my boys or my daughter. She needs only a 3 bed property as she wants us to have shared custody . Please help . So close to xmas it's making myself sick with worry
Ryan - 19-Dec-19 @ 4:52 PM
Hi my husband and I are joint owners on our mortgage, we have a nine year old child. It has been increasingly difficult to live together. My husband has depression (not diagnosed) and is quite often unstable ranging from threatening suicide, locking himself in our spare room to play xbox day and night, messaging other girls and controlling money over me.
More recently he has sacked me from my job (his company), grabbed me by the throat and pushed me and contacted the police with false allegations that I was stabbing him with a screwdriver. No charges were brought to me as this was a complete lie. Am I able to get any order to remain in the home and prevent myself and my child having to leave
Shelley Cairns - 20-Sep-19 @ 5:50 PM
i need to get a occupation order. Solicitors are so expensive because they charge an hourly rate.
Can you please let me know how I could get it done bit cheaper.
MA - 13-Sep-19 @ 3:05 PM
Hi, my stepmum has gained an occupational order against my dad. The property was my mothers who has passed away now and thus it is in my dads name now. I am having to move out of the house now as a result of this, however i need financial help. My stepmum is claiming that we cannot sell the property until she removes the order. Is this true? What steps can i take to remove the order or invalidate her claim? we want to sell the property and take a share of it accordingly.
liz - 19-Aug-19 @ 4:25 PM
I am from Belize City central America she ahave filed a protection order and occupation order agens meahay say she has reported me because. Like to tell her things and I like to cures her and that o like to do things to my son when we fight and that I tell my son bad words and that I and that I have a next lady pregnantand that I like to cut cable from things when we fight and that she doesn't want to be with me no more and she no want I be close to she or my son because I give bad example .
Do you think we can get back togetheror our relationship is over like I would like a advice thanks very much and I do love her a d my son I have a court for this Friday
Mike - 23-Jun-19 @ 1:11 PM
Arun - Your Question:
My ex took out a occupation order and is registered on the land registry. I own the property and have small mortgage on it. It’s been 7 years since our split. It now transpired that our marriage was invalid. Therefore does she still have the right to occupy the property? And how can I remove the order? Also how long does an order last?
Much would depend upon whether you have children and your ex is the primary carer of the children. If so, the fact your marriage is invalid would not apply. You may need to seek legal advice to answer your questions fully as the information given is too vague to answer your question fully.
DivorceResource - 30-Apr-18 @ 2:14 PM
My ex took out a occupation order and is registered on the land registry. I own the property and have small mortgage on it. It’s been 7 years since our split.
It now transpired that our marriage was invalid. Therefore does she still have the right to occupy the property?
And how can I remove the order? Also how long does an order last?
Arun - 28-Apr-18 @ 11:28 AM
Ryan- Your Question:
Hi, My wife walked out our property taking the kids with her claiming abuse, which she has fabricated. She is now agreeing to shared care for our children.I have 2 queries1. Can she attempt to get an order against me on her word alone? ( no proof no police reports nothing as it’s fabticated)2. Is she allowed to enter the property and remove furniture?Any advice would be greatly appreciated Ryan
Before you and your ex would be allowed to apply to court, you would have to consider mediation first before court can be considered, unless your ex cites domestic violence and refuses to attend mediation. You would then have to apply to court. However, if your ex is agreeing to shared care, then you may wish to make an agreement via mediation. If both you and your ex are named on the title of the property, both of you have rights over and to the property. This means your ex can enter the property and take belongings. mediation may help here to in order to come to a mutual separation agreement. Or one can be drawn up via a solicitor. However, there are free templates available online if you think you can come to an amicable resolution between you. Quite often when parents separate, there is a lot of anger and distrust. When emotions are running high it is difficult to be amicable with your ex. However, as the mother of your children she is always going to be in your life and you need to find a way to get on. As well as seeking mediation, you both need to commit to putting your children first.
DivorceResource - 8-Feb-18 @ 2:07 PM
My wife walked out our property taking the kids with her claiming abuse, which she has fabricated. She is now agreeing to shared care for our children.
I have 2 queries
1. Can she attempt to get an order against me on her word alone? ( no proof no police reports nothing as it’s fabticated)
2. Is she allowed to enter the property and remove furniture?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Ryan - 7-Feb-18 @ 9:46 PM
Hello. My wife has applied for an occupation order citing domestic abuse. She is currently at her parents which is minutes away,with our two children. Their house is adequate to accommodate my wife and the children when there.Now she wants the house, and me out. There are no safeguarding issues regarding the children. I have no where to live if the court decides in her favour. I will need a home to have my children sleep when with me.
Is it likely the court will decide in my wife's favour?
All advice is greatly appreciated
Megane - 21-Nov-17 @ 8:12 PM
Hi I won a non molestation order against my ex but he won the occupancy order as he has mental health issues . It was a joint tenancy on private rented property. The estate agents now saying to not let me view any of their properties as a result . Will this be the same for other estate agents is it like being blacklisted
Kelz - 25-Oct-17 @ 1:43 PM
Haze9229 - Your Question:
Hi, my father is planning on submitting an application for an occupation order and non-molestation order on behalf of himself and my younger sister (14 years old). This is due to my mother being abusive and violent towards our whole family due to alcoholism and assumed undiagnosed mental health issues. I have 2 questions:1. Can the court also encourage/order her to seek help or treatment to rehabilitate her?2. If she is ordered to leave the family home, is she expected to find her own alternative accommodation? We still love her and don't want her to be homeless but can no longer tolerate the abuse and cannot allow a 14 year old child to be subjected to this treatment any longer.Thanks in advance for any advice.
I am sorry to hear this. It is understandable that you feel torn with regards to your love for your mum and the protection of your sister. Have you thought of speaking to anyone directly from the likes of Mind? Please see link here. Its advisers may be able to offer guidance on matters such as this. Unfortunately, we cannot offer any further information, as your mum must first want to try to seek help for herself by seeking advice from her GP etc. If your mum has friends or other family, they may offer to help and put her up for a period of time until she can sort her issues out.
DivorceResource - 20-Oct-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hi, my father is planning on submitting an application for an occupation order and non-molestation order on behalf of himself and my younger sister (14 years old). This is due to my mother being abusive and violent towards our whole family due to alcoholism and assumed undiagnosed mental health issues. I have 2 questions:
1. Can the court also encourage/order her to seek help or treatment to rehabilitate her?
2. If she is ordered to leave the family home, is she expected to find her own alternative accommodation? We still love her and don't want her to be homeless but can no longer tolerate the abuse and cannot allow a 14 year old child to be subjected to this treatment any longer.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Haze9229 - 19-Oct-17 @ 10:40 AM
janedunford - Your Question:
Hi there, I live in a Housing Association property with my Husband. I want a divorce as he is an alcoholic, he refuses to work or even look for employment, he is verbally abusive, smashes things up in the house when drunk and is making my life a complete nightmare. I am constantly having to give him money. I pay for most of the bills. He buys shopping sometimes but it is mostly alcohol. I want a divorce but he says that he will not leave the property. I am more than capable of paying and taking care of the property on my own but is it true that he can remain in the property even though he does not contribute and behaves in an unacceptable manner? Please help with any information you may have - I'm at my wit's end. thanks you
In addition to the information in the article, you can see more via the Money Advice Service link here which should help answer your question.
DivorceResource - 30-Jun-17 @ 9:50 AM
Hi there, i live in a Housing Association property with my Husband.I want a divorce as he is an alcoholic, he refuses to work or even look for employment, he is verbally abusive, smashes things up in the house when drunk and is making my life a complete nightmare.I am constantly having to give him money.I pay for most of the bills.He buys shopping sometimes but it is mostly alcohol.
I want a divorce but he says that he will not leave the property.I am more than capable of paying and taking care of the property on my own but is it true that he can remain in the property even though he does not contribute and behaves in an unacceptable manner?Please help with any information you may have - I'm at my wit's end.thanks you
janedunford - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:22 AM
@muz - you would have to take it back to court. But quite often occupation orders have conditions attached, such as she can stay there if she lives alone etc. But ultimately it would be up to the court to decide and you will have to re-apply.
DivorceResource - 17-Mar-15 @ 2:24 PM
My ex has occupation order for 12 months.if shes had another mans child can i get her to sell house