An occupation order is another type of injunctive Order that can be issued by the Courts in England and Wales in cases where there is domestic abuse or violence.
An occupation order regulates who can live in a certain property, or part of a property, and can be granted to either party involved in the dispute. It can be used to remove the person named in the Order (the Respondent) from the home, or it can be used to allow the person seeking the Order (the Applicant) to stay in the home and exclude the respondent. The Order can also include provisions such as preventing the respondent from entering the property or a specific area around it and can regulate the payment of rent or mortgage instalments and other related expenses.
Occupation Orders can only be made ‘without notice’ against a Respondent in exceptional circumstances. Such Orders are usually made for fixed periods of time such as six or twelve months but can last until the occurrence of a specified event or until further order.
When deciding whether to make an Occupation Order, the Court will consider various factors, including the financial resources and housing needs of each party and any relevant children. The Court will also consider the conduct of the parties and the likely effect any Order (whether granted or refused) would have on the health, safety and well-being of the parties and children.
Should a Respondent breach a provision of an Occupation Order which has a penal notice attached to it, this can result in criminal charges. The Order can otherwise be enforced through civil proceedings.
The Court has the power to vary or discharge an Occupation Order if there is a change in circumstances, or if the Order is no longer necessary.
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