What is an Occupation Order?

An Occupation Order is a court order which says who can live in the family home. An occupation order can order the abuser to:

  • move out of the home or to stay away from the home;
  • keep a certain distance away from the home;
  • stay in certain parts of the home at certain times (for example, it can order him to sleep in a different bedroom);
  • allow you back into the home if he has locked you out;
  • continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills.

In order to apply for an occupation order you must:

  • have a legal or beneficial interest in a property that was (or was intended to be) the home you shared with the person that you are associated with (see definition above); or
  • be a former spouse, civil partner or cohabitee of the person you are applying for the order against and this is (or was previously) your home

When deciding whether to grant an occupation order the court will consider a number of factors including:

  • the housing needs and resources of you, the abuser and any children;
  • the financial resources of you both; the likely effect any order, or not making an order, will have on you, the abuser and any children; and
  • your and the abuser's behaviour to one another.

The court may also look at the harm that you and any child might suffer if the order is not granted and the harm that the respondent and any child might suffer if it is.

The type of occupation order you can apply for depends on your legal rights in respect of the property and on the type of relationship you have with the abuser. The court can make both a non-molestation order and an occupation order at the same time if it is appropriate.

For further information, see Rights of Women's Guide to Domestic Violence Injunctions.

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