There is no doubt that the country is going through a great period of stress, uncertainty and confusion. We have heard from some clients that this is causing increases in family discord including the breakdown of long term relationships. We are also worried to see media reports about the potential for a rise in domestic abuse.
For some, the need for protection will be greater than ever. Others will simply want to understand their likely position upon divorce or separation and what will happen to any children that they have. Even if couples are already separated, there may be disagreements about arrangements for their children and confusion over the guidance that has been issued about this by various bodies over recent days. We recognise that uncertainty can add to anxiety and that obtaining prompt legal advice is reassuring. We also understand that now could be a period where people have more private time to obtain legal advice.
If you are at imminent risk of harm, you should always contact the police. It may be appropriate to apply for a protective injunction, such as a non-molestation order or occupation order.
A non-molestation order is an order that prevents a person from molesting another. Non–molestation orders can contain specific terms and will frequently prohibit a person from:
- Using or threatening any unlawful violence towards the applicant.
- Damaging, attempting to damage or threatening to damage any property belonging to the applicant.
- Communicating with the applicant via text message, letter, social media or any other means of communication.
- Intimidating, harassing or pestering the applicant and instructing any other person from doing any of the above.
An occupation order is an order which regulates the occupation of the home and may exclude a person from the home. We are able to advise about the suitability of such an order as well as making an emergency application to the court should this be appropriate.
Family courts are still operating during this period, albeit on a reduced basis and with most hearings taking place with online video technology or by telephone. We are able to ensure that you are represented at any such hearings.
Our telephone and IT systems are set up so that solicitors are able to continue working throughout this period. We have long since operated a paperless office, enabling us to have secure access to all case papers remotely. We are doing everything we can to offer a seamless and supportive service as we understand this is when many need it the most.
If you would like to speak to a solicitor about your family circumstances please telephone us on 020 3440 8000.