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I have a friend who is experiencing intimate partner abuse

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I have a friend who is experiencing intimate partner abuse from her husband in the form of gaslighting, verbal abuse, control, coercion, attempts to isolate her and so on and so forth. She has been working towards divorcing him and in last two months she has made huge progress emotionally and her confidence is growing. They have four children, age 7-14, the oldest one appears to have been influenced by his father as he is now "spying" on her. She wants to divorce him and is working up to going to see a solicitor. I'm extremely worried that she'll be expected to live with him until the house is sold, house is not for sale and it's unrealistic that due it's current state it'll give enough money for both of them to stay in the same area. What are her legal rights to the house... access to the children for both parties
Assistant: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: No papers filed. She has not been to for legal advice yet as she is concerned that he will become more abusive once he knows that she is serious about divorce. At the moment he seems to not be taking it seriously even though they have had one counseling session together and divorce was discussed. He has some serious issues, confirmed by his therapist but he's adamant that they both remain in the house until they separate but there's absolutely no way that she will be able to afford a property in the same area for all four children.
Assistant: Have they talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: No, she's concerned that if she tells the lawyer about the emotional abuse, which is also happening to her daughter, that the police or social services will get involved
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Let me see can help and please rate 5 stars. Yes. You can apply to the court for a non molestation and occupation order to keep him away from you and the property.

Injunctions are there to offer you protection from your abuser. They are court orders that require someone to do (or not do) something in particular. The two main injunction types available under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 are:

  • A non-molestation order - prevents your partner, former partner or associated person from being violent or threatening violence towards you or any children. It also prevents intimidation, harassment and pestering (including in-person or remotely by letter, email, phone or social media) so as to ensure your - and your children's - safety.
  • An occupation order - defines who can live in the family home. It can also prevent your abuser from being in the surrounding area. You can also get an occupation order if you have left home because of violent behaviour but want to return without your abuser living there.

Under recent changes to the law, breaching a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence and a power of arrest is automatically attached to the injunction, meaning your abuser can be arrested simply for breaching the injunction without needing to have committed any other criminal activity. The Order is filed with the Police so they are aware of the power of arrest and can exact it should any breach arise.

She may also be eligible for legal aid to make such an application. Happy to discuss and please rate 5 stars.

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