Restraining Orders in Divorce Proceedings

restraining orders

There are times when the reason for a divorce is due to threatening behaviour or abuse in the marriage. Domestic  abuse is defined as a pattern of physical or sexual violence or controlling behaviour in a relationship. It may involve physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual abuse and can include violent behaviour or subtle control that makes the victim feel worthless, deprives them of money or prevents them from leaving the family home.

Men and women can both be victims of domestic violence and in these types of serious cases, it can be necessary to consider an injunction. An injunction is a court order that requires someone to do or not do something.

Under the Family Law Act, there are different types of injunctions available that can help clients to gain protection in domestic abuse cases.

Occupation order

This deals with the family home situation; if you consider living with your partner is unsafe, an occupation order may be the best course of action. Essentially, it specifies who is allowed to live in the family home and can prevent your partner from entering the surrounding area. Anyone who is legally associated to their abuser and has property rights to the home may apply for an occupation order. The court will apply a ‘balance of harm’ test when determining whether to make the injunction.

Depending on the case, if the court accepts the abuser has used or threatened physical violence, then a power of arrest may be attached to the order. Injunctions do work differently depending on individual circumstances and evidence will be required to demonstrate there has been a level of harassment to warrant the intervention.

Non-molestation order

This injunction aims to protect you and your children from threatening behaviour and to ensure your health, safety and well-being. You can also obtain an exclusion zone around your home and place of work. Under new legislation, it’s a criminal offence to breach a non-molestation order.

Restraining order

If the case ends up in the criminal courts, the courts can issue a restraining order to protect the victims of crime. A restraining order may: prevent a person from harassing and communicating with you by phone, text or email; restrict them from behaving in a certain way; prevent them from going to certain places such as your home or workplace; restrict them from approaching you. Breach of a restraining order is a criminal offence.

It’s important to get the right help for your situation and discuss the different options with an experienced family law professional. Here at Harrogate Family Law, Andrew Meehan is accredited as a Resolution specialist in domestic violence and can offer confidential legal advice to clients facing these difficult and challenging circumstances.

Contact us on 01423 594680 or email


Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.

This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.