February 1, 2023

How can I get my abusive spouse/partner to leave our home?   

By Jones Myers Partner, Anthony Parrish

New research has revealed just shy of one in six people in Britain have suffered economic or financial abuse at the hands of their partner.

Aviva’s study found 40% of British people are victims of such abuse, with spouses and partners being the perpetrator in 39% of those cases. Other common perpetrators include friends, parents, siblings, colleagues, and employers.

Jones Myers was invited to produce an article on how victims can apply to get their abusive spouse/partner to leave the home. You can read the article in full below. 

  Sadly, we work with many clients who, along with their children, are victims of domestic abuse.

Some flee the spousal home with little more than the clothes they stand up in while others stay and suffer in silence – because they fear losing any legal rights they may have.     

It is vital that you know there are injunctions you can take out which entail the Court making an order protecting you and your children from abuse or harassment by your partner/spouse and prevent them from living in your home.  

Non-Molestation Order

An FL401 form enables you to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, which forbids your spouse/partner from:

  • Coming to, or near, your home
  • Using or threatening violence against you and your children
  • Intimidating, harassing, or pestering you and your children
  • Going to places such as schools that you and your children visit regularly.
  • Send/engage in threatening communication through letter, telephone, text message, or other means of communication ( including social media).
  • Not to instruct or encourage a third party to do any of the above on their behalf.

Occupation Order

The same form can also be used to apply for an Occupation Order, where the court decides who should live in, or return to, the home or any part of it.

Depending upon your circumstances, you can apply for a non-molestation order, an occupation order – or both.

The application does not require court fees. If a family lawyer assists you with the application, you pay for their fees.  Legal Aid is available for applications of this nature provided the required thresholds for qualification are met.

Key Factors the Court Will Consider 

  • Your respective finances
  • Your behaviour to each other   
  • The likely impact of a Court order/decision not to exercise its powers, on the health/safety/wellbeing of you, your spouse/partner and your children

Considerations for Married Couples

If you were married and have no existing right to occupy the property, the Court will also examine:

  • The length of time since you last lived together
  • How long ago your marriage was dissolved
  • If any current legal proceedings exist between you for a financial order following your divorce, or for an order under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 for financial relief or relating to the legal or beneficial ownership of the property.

Considerations for Cohabitees

If you are living with your partner and have no existing right to occupy the property, the Court will examine:

  • If you have any children together or if you have, or have had, parental responsibility for any children (stepchildren, godchildren etc)
  • If an Order is made in your favour, it could be for a specified period – often six months – or until another Court Order is made. In some situations, the Order can be renewed for another six months.

The protection the court offers is available to married, divorced, cohabiting and former cohabiting couples along with those in civil partnerships.

Jones Myers highly skilled and sensitive family law specialists has extensive expertise in helping victims of victims of domestic violence and abuse, or threatened violence to protect themselves and their loved ones.

We understand that domestic abuse occurs in all levels of society – regardless of race, gender, wealth or age.

In confidential consultations we discuss all your options and advise on the way forward, including court applications for an injunction as outlined above.

We can also suggest other organisations who can help you outside the legal process.  

For advice on domestic violence or family law related issues, contact myself or Jane Bolton on 0113 246 0055 jm2023.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet @helpwithdivorce

For more information on the FL401 form, visit the Government website

Jones Myers blog is ranked 10th in the UK’s Best 25 family law blogs and websites to follow in 2023.