If you’re in the middle of a divorce, child custody battle or legal dispute with your ex-partner, a court injunction has the potential to prevent further distress.
Discover the different types of injunctions available and what to do if they are breached.
What Are Injunctions?
An injunction is a legal order put in place to prevent someone carrying out, or continuing with, a certain behaviour or action.
These are ordinarily applied for in court and the claimant must show that all other options have been exhausted or are not suitable in their situation.
A common use of an injunction is when a couple separates due to domestic violence. The order can protect the party at risk and prevent the ex-partner from coming within a certain distance of the victim or making any form of contact with them.
Injunctions can also be used to retrieve personal effects. For example, if following a divorce one party refuses to return the other’s property. The courts could then order that these be released to the rightful owner.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For An Injunction?
If you wish to apply for an injunction, you need to be classed as an ‘associated person.’ This simply means that you and your ex-partner must be related or connected in one of the following ways:
- You are or used to be married to one another
- You are or used to be in a civil partnership with one another
- You are currently cohabiting or have done so in the past
- You have formally agreed to get married (even if this agreement has now ceased)
- You have a child together (either you are parents of the same child or have parental responsibility for the same child)
- You don’t live together but have been in an intimate relationship for a substantial duration
- You are involved in the same family proceedings (for example, a divorce or child custody battle)
What Types of Injunctions Are There?
The four most common injunctions are listed below:
Occupational Order – This will establish who can reside in the family home and order another person to leave the location. This is often used in domestic violence cases.
Non-Molestation Order – This prevents another party from harming you or your child.
Common Law – (Also known as Assault & Trespass Injunctions) – This order prevents named parties from visiting your property without consent. It can also be used in assault cases to reduce the risk of another instance.
Anti-Harassment – This order is designed to protect you from harassment, including causing distress through nuisance phone calls, threats or threatening behaviour like stalking or excessive noise.
How To Apply
There are two ways in which you can apply for a court injunction. You can either hire a lawyer to apply on your behalf, or you can visit your local County Court or Magistrates Court and request the forms to fill in. Some injunctions may require you to apply to the High Court.
You may also need to make a sworn statement, known as an affidavit, in front of the court to explain why you need the injunction.
Forms To Complete
To apply for an injunction you will need to fill in an Injunction Application, also known as Form N16A. In addition to this, you will need to complete a Statement of Claim. This needs to detail the events that have led to the application and those responsible.
It’s worth noting that if you change your mind or circumstances alter, you can withdraw your application at any time.
What Happens If An Injunction Is Broken?
If someone breaks an injunction, they are classed as being in contempt of court and can be sent to prison.
It is advisable to document what your antagonist does or says as this will help your case. You may then be able to apply for a ‘Warrant of Arrest’ which would cause the person in question to be arrested and brought before the court.
The court would then assess the circumstances of the breach and the evidence provided before making their ruling.