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26 Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment
7. Court orders you can get to protect you
Court orders generally fall into two parts:
An occupation order can order any number of the following:
The court can also make orders about:
You can't use an occupation order to change the ownership of the property. You may need to sort this out through separate legal proceedings, and you should seek legal advice about this.
What will I have to tell the court?
For an occupation order, the court needs more information. The judge also needs to know about:
If you are not married the judge also needs to know:
What will happen at court?
Your partner will be able to reply to what you have said about him or her. If they have had enough time before the hearing, they may state their reply in writing. If your partner does not really dispute what has happened and wants to sort something out, he or she may offer the court an 'undertaking'. This is a solemn promise about their future behaviour, similar to an injunction. Sometimes you may also be asked to give an undertaking about your behaviour.
The judge does not have to accept an undertaking -it depends on whether it looks as if this will keep you safe enough in the future. See 'How a court order protects you'.
When the judge has heard from both of you, he or she will make an order or set out the terms on which the court accepts an undertaking.
What if my partner isn't there?
The judge can make an order if your partner does not come to the hearing.
If your partner has not been served with the papers (because you have gone to court for an emergency hearing or your partner can't be traced), then the judge will fix another date in the near future to give you another chance to serve the papers. The judge may also make a short-term non-molestation order to protect you until that hearing. The judge will not normally make an occupation order if your partner has not been served with the papers, but may do this if it seems the best way to protect you until the next hearing.
If your partner has been served with the papers and has not come to court, the judge will make whatever orders he or she thinks are appropriate to protect you.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor specialising in family law.
Leaflet version: July 2019
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