What is a Non Molestation Order?


Non-Molestation Orders

If you are in an abusive relationship, you are not alone, even though it may feel like it sometimes. Domestic abuse is never the victim's fault, and our Family Law Solicitors can advise you on making a Non-Molestation Order application, so you can ensure your safety and protect your children.

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order prevents a person who has committed domestic abuse from molesting the Applicant and/or a relevant child. For example, if you are being abused by your partner, you can apply for a Non-Molestation Order to prevent them from molesting you and your children.

Molesting is not confined to physical abuse, it also covers psychological harm, harassment, intimidation, coercive and controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.

A Non-Molestation Order can be served against:

• A spouse, or ex-spouse

• A civil partner, or previous civil partner

• A fiancé(e) or ex-fiancé(e) – evidence of the intention to marry will be required

• Cohabitees or ex-cohabitees

• A family member

• A person you live with, or used to live with

• The father or mother of your children

The person who is being served the Non-Molestation Order is known as the Respondent. Often the Respondent will fit into more than one of the above categories; however, you only need to apply under a single classification.

How do I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?

You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order yourself by filling out form FL401. However, it is best to obtain legal advice from a Domestic Abuse Solicitor as the form is over 20 pages long. A Solicitor will have extensive experience in drafting applications for Non-Molestation Orders and understand that the statutory criteria focus on the health (physical or mental), safety, and well-being of you (as the Applicant) and any relevant children rather than the nature of the abusive behaviour. In practice, therefore, any witness statement you provide supporting your application for a Non-Molestation Order must include details of how the Respondent’s actions affect you and your children. A Solicitor will ensure your application includes this type of evidence, minimising the risk of the Order not being granted or the granting of the Order being delayed.

What factors will the Court consider when deciding whether to grant a Non-Molestation Order?

The Court will have regard to all relevant factors when considering a Non-Molestation Order application, including the health, safety, and wellbeing of the Applicant and any children. It will need to see evidence of molestation and the need for you and your children to be protected. Finally, the Court must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that an Order must be made to control the Respondent’s behaviour.

What is an ex-parte Non-Molestation Order application?

If you do not want the Respondent to know you are applying for an Order, you can make the application ex-parte or ‘without notice’. A Family Law Solicitor can make a ‘without notice’ application if you require a Non-Molestation Order urgently and believe you will be at risk of harm if the Respondent is alerted to the fact such an application is being made.

An Order granted without notice will provide you with the protection you need but it will not be final. The Respondent will be asked to attend a hearing where they can express their views on the granting of the Non-Molestation Order. If they dispute the Order, you may be required to obtain further evidence to support your case. By instructing a Solicitor, you will have someone by your side throughout the entire application process who can present to the Court a persuasive case as to why a Non-Molestation order is appropriate and necessary.

How long does a Non-Molestation Order last?

Non-Molestation Orders can be granted for six to twelve months; however, this is at the Court’s discretion. An Order granted without notice is likely to last for a shorter period until the Respondent attends a hearing to express their views, at which point it may be extended.

What happens if a Non-Molestation Order is breached?

Doing anything that is prohibited under a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence. For example, if the Order states that the Respondent cannot come within a certain distance of your home and they do so, you can call the police and they may arrest the Respondent. Depending on the severity of the breach or the number of times the Respondent commits a breach, the Court may impose a custodial sentence.

Do I have to pay for a Non-Molestation Order?

No court fees apply to Non-Molestation Order applications; however, you will need to pay your Solicitor’s fees.

Wrapping up

A Non-Molestation Order is a powerful tool to protect you and your children from domestic abuse. To ensure you get an Order swiftly, and for the length of time you need to guarantee your safety, it is best to instruct an experienced Family Law Solicitor from the outset.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please call us on 0300 3732424.

If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999 immediately.

You can access support and information at Home - Refuge and ManKind Initiative - Supporting Male Victims of Domestic Abuse