Non-Molestation Order and Child Contact – What you need to know

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What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order is a type of court order available in the United Kingdom that prohibits someone from harassing, intimidating, or threatening another person (the applicant) or their children. It is designed to protect victims of domestic abuse, harassment, or stalking. An applicant must apply for the order using the Form FL401 under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996. The FL401 Form is also used when applying for an occupation order, in which the court decides who should live in or return to the family home.

The order can include specific terms tailored to the individual case, such as prohibiting the respondent from contacting the applicant or going to their home, workplace, or children’s school. The order can also be used to prevent someone from using or threatening violence, or from damaging property.

A Non-Molestation Order can be granted by the family court on an interim basis (i.e., until a final hearing) without the respondent being present/attending court if the judge considers that there is a risk of significant harm to the applicant or their children.

Breaching a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence, punishable by a prison sentence or a fine, or both.

Can you still have contact with your child when a Non-Molestation order is in place?

Yes, it is possible to see your child while a Non-Molestation Order is in place, but this will depend on the specific terms of the order. The court will consider the safety and well-being of the child, as well as the safety of the victim, when making the order.

The terms of the Non-Molestation Order may include provisions for contact between the respondent and the victim’s children, such as supervised contact or indirect contact. If the respondent wishes to have contact with their Child or assume parental responsibilities, they will need to make an application to the court to apply for a Child Arrangements Order, which sets out the arrangements for the child’s care and contact with the parents or other family members.

Some people may be eligible for legal aid to help with court fees when applying for a Child Arrangements Order, so it is worth checking with a legal professional what you may be entitled to.

If a Non-Molestation Order is breached, it can have serious consequences, including imprisonment. Therefore, it is essential to comply with the terms of the order and seek legal advice if there is any uncertainty about what is allowed under the terms of the order.

Can you challenge a Non-Molestation Order?

It is possible to challenge a Non-Molestation Order if you believe that it was obtained unfairly, or if you disagree with the terms of the order. Typically, Non Molestation Orders provide a date and time in which to attend court if you wish to protest the order.

To challenge a Non-Molestation Order, you will need to apply to the court to vary or discharge the order. This may involve presenting evidence that was not considered at the original hearing, such as evidence that contradicts the allegations made by the applicant.

It is important to note that breaching a Non-Molestation Order is a serious criminal offense, so it is essential to comply with the terms of the order until it has been successfully challenged or varied by the court.

If you wish to challenge a Non-Molestation Order, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor who has experience in family law and court proceedings. They can guide you through the process and provide advice on the best course of action to take.

What happens if you break a Non-Molestation order?

Breaking a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offense in the United Kingdom, and the consequences can be severe. The penalties for breaching a Non-Molestation Order may include:

  1. Arrest: If a person breaches a Non-Molestation Order, they may be arrested by the police.
  2. Imprisonment: Breaching a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offense, and if found guilty, the offender can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 5 years.
  3. Fine: The offender may also be ordered to pay a fine if they breach the Non-Molestation Order.
  4. Further restrictions: If the court believes that the offender poses a continued risk to the victim or their children, the court may impose further restrictions on their behavior or contact.

It is important to note that breaching a Non-Molestation Order can have serious consequences, including a criminal record and imprisonment. Therefore, it is crucial to comply with the terms of the order and seek legal advice if there is any uncertainty about what is allowed under the terms of the order.

How can we assist?

We understand that disputes involving Non-Molestation Orders and child contact can be incredibly complex and sensitive. The solicitors on our panel can provide you with the best legal advice and assistance on Non-Molestation Orders, resolving child contact disputes and obtaining a Child Arrangement Order.

As well as assisting with contact arrangements for children, our panel of law specialists can also advise and assist on other areas of family law such as divorce and financial settlements or legal awards following a relationship breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief).

We ensure that the teams of family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a solicitor on our panel can assist in your Non-Molestation Order and child contact case.

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