Non-Molestation Orders are a type of injunction granted by the Family Court. Non-Molestation Orders will prevent a partner, former partner, or ‘associated person’ from causing you or your children harm. The order may require them not to have any contact with you at all, or to come to your home or place of work.

If you are currently in, or have been in, an abusive relationship you may be able to apply for a Non-Molestation Order if you are concerned for your and your children’s safety. Applying for a non-molestation order through the courts is a way you can protect yourself not just physical harm, but also threats, intimidation and harassment, psychological / emotional abuse and coercive or controlling behaviour.

In the case of real urgency where there is a threat of imminent harm the court will often make an interim order without the other party knowing of the hearing before it happens which can then be served on that person and become effective and enforceable. The Court will then list the matter for a full “on notice” hearing at a later date where the other party will be given copies of the papers in the case and notice of the hearing.

It is important to understand the process and what can and cannot be achieved so that you can feel confident when you make the application.  We can assist you in drafting non-molestation orders application and supporting statement and represent you at court in both the initial and subsequent  hearings.

Non-Molestation Orders affect you and your children’s safety and ability to live a happy and secure life, so it is important to seek expert advice from an experienced solicitor as soon as possible. Our team of solicitors can support you through the process, helping you to gather all the information and evidence you may need to get the protection you need as fast as possible. Call 0333 240 7373 or contact Reeds Solicitors LLP on To read more about our family solicitors team and associated services, please visit the Family Law page here.

NOTE: If you are a victim of violence or domestic abuse, please seek immediate help and report to the police. If you are seeking legal aid, which we can help you with, it is likely that you will need to show that you have reported matters to the police. You will also need to show that you are not, as a consequence, protected by the actions of the police for example, imposing bail conditions on the other party.


What is a non-molestation order?

Non-Molestation Orders are usually issued to prohibit a person from using or threatening physical violence, intimidation, harassment, pestering or unsolicited communication with you.

Non-Molestation Orders are a type of injunction granted by the family court. Orders will prevent a partner, former partner, or ‘associated person’ from causing you or your children harm. The order may require them not to have any contact with you, maintain a certain distance from you, or prevent them from coming to your home or place of work.

How is Molestation Defined?

The Family Law Act 1996 does not define molestation, however it does include conduct that harasses or threatens a person. Many acts which would constitute molestation are considered crimes, as detailed in the Protection from Harassment Act 1977 hence the need to report acts of molestation to the police who may be able to take action to protect you.

Can I make an application for an order without the knowledge of my partner/associated person?

Yes, you can. There are times when you may not wish for the other party to know that you are applying for an order. However, this is broadly restricted to situations where there is a need to protect you from an imminent risk of serious harm requiring immediate protection

Either called a ‘Without Notice Application’ or an ‘Ex-Parte’ application, this is useful in situations where the protection from such an order is needed quickly and where you will be in more danger if the associated person should find out about the application.

For a final non-molestation order to be granted, the court normally require a second hearing where the subject associated person (Respondent) is invited to attend to provide their view on the application and order. If the associated person does not accept the order, further evidence and statements may be requested and the matter may proceed to a trial in the family court.

What is a ‘Without Notice Application (ex-parte)’?

A ‘without notice application’ for a non-molestation order is an application that is made without the other person’s knowledge (‘ex-parte’). A court will make a non-molestation order based on the evidence of the Applicant  however for the Court to hear a matter without notice the person applying will have to show that there is an urgent need for such a hearing for their personal protection and that they are otherwise without any protection of the law.

Who can apply for a non-molestation order?

To apply for a non-molestation order, you must be an ‘associated person’. For example, a spouse or an ex-spouse of the person you are making a non-molestation order against. See the list below for which persons you may apply for an NMO against.

What people can I apply for a non-molestation order against?

You can apply for an order against:

  • Civil partners, or previous civil partners.
  • Spouse or ex-spouse.
  • A fiancé or ex-fiancé.
  • A family member
  • The father, mother or co-parent of your children.
  • Someone who you live, or lived, with.

Do I Need a Solicitor to get a Non-Molestation Order?

Whilst it is possible to navigate the process of applying for an order without a solicitor, we recommend consulting with a solicitor early in the process. The court decision affects you and your children’s safety and ability to live a happy life. Any delay to the order being obtained due to insufficient evidence, or errors on the application can put that safety at risk.

Our team of solicitors can support you through the process, helping you to gather all the necessary information and evidence you may need to get the protection you need as fast as possible. Contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at

What is the application process for Non-Molestation Orders?

To apply for a non-molestation order, application form FL401 is required. This is the same form for an occupation order which is an order which regulates the occupation of the family home, which can be applied for at the same time.

The application needs to be accompanied by a witness statement, which must set out in detail the grounds for the court to be able to make the order sought and  will need to be verified by a ‘statement of truth’. The applicant will also need to provide a draft non-molestation order.

Non-Molestation Order applications are frequently made where there is a real risk of harm, so it is important to ensure the application is made correctly and effectively to ensure no delay occurs. We recommend seeking legal advice and representation so that potential delays are minimised to ensure your safety as soon as possible.

How much does it cost to serve a non-molestation order?

There are no court fees in applying for a Non Molestation Order, however solicitor fees associated with advice and representation may apply. A solicitor is recommended to navigate the process.

For further details, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at

How long do Non-Molestation Orders last?

Non-Molestation Orders are civil injunctions which can last between 6-12months depending upon the circumstances.

It is possible for Non-Molestation Orders to last longer than this period if the court decides that the situation warrants it. It is also possible to extend the order towards the end of the period if the situation has not changed or the danger is still present.

How much evidence do you need for a non-molestation order?

We recommend bringing as much evidence as possible when you attend Family Court. However, it is important to ensure that the evidence provided in your statement is focussed on the information required by the court showing that the grounds set out in the Family Law Act to make the order sought whether it is a Non Molestation Order and or an Occupation Order apply. Information and detailed descriptions of times when you have been physically or emotionally threatened or harmed by the subject of a proposed order, along with the effects it has had on you and your children, the nature of your relationship and your occupation of the home in relation to which you are seeking an order in relation to are essential as well as an analysis of the balance of harm for you and your opponent in relation to an Occupation Order. Police and or medical records where they are available will help justify to the court why an order is required under the circumstances.

We can help assist with gathering evidence and ensuring that everything possible is prepared to ensure an order is granted as soon as possible.

How is a Non-molestation order served?

To be effective the order is required to be served on the subject of the order and usually  in person to ensure that they have received the order with a statement of service being provided to the court to show this. A copy of the order should be retained and will need to be provided to the Police if there is a breach of the order. This service will either be by a Process Server or a Bailiff. An initial or interim order should normally be served no less than two days before a further court hearing in which the person is required to attend.

The court can provide permission for the order to be served via email or even whatsapp under certain circumstances (for example, if there is no known address).

What happens if someone breaches a non-molestation order?

If a person breaches a non-molestation order the police can arrest them and they will often be prosecuted for an established breach of the order. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are responsible for the prosecution of any such breaches. The Court takes breaches extremely seriously and prosecutions can often result in custodial sentences, particularly when there are multiple breaches.

Depending on the outcome, a breach could result in a criminal record and have serious implications on the individual concerned.

Is a Non-Molestation Order a Criminal Record?

A Non Molestation Order is not the same as a Criminal Conviction. The expectation of evidence or proof is lower than that required in criminal proceedings, and an order can be made without any findings against the individual involved.

Having a Non-Molestation Order against you will not appear on a criminal record, nor would it appear on a basic or standard DBS check.

Can Non-Molestation Orders be Removed or Cancelled?

It is possible to make an application to the court to ‘discharge’ a Non Molestation Order. Either the original applicant, the subject to the order, or both can make an application in writing to the courts. This will explain the situation and state why the order should no longer be in place.

Are there Alternatives to Non-Molestation Orders?

It is possible that the Court may accept an undertaking from the subject of an application in the terms that the application is sought upon the subject attending the Court and offering such an undertaking. If accepted the subject of the application will be required to sign a formal undertaking form which will set out the terms of the undertaking, usually mirroring the terms of the application made which they will be required to sign before the Judge after they have been warned about the consequences of breaching their undertaking which is a solemn promise to the court namely; that on being found to be in breach of their undertaking they may be subject to fine or imprisonment.

If the respondent does breach the undertaking the applicant will need to immediately apply to the Court. This will require the respondent to show why they should not be fined or imprisoned for contempt of court.  It is not as quick or as straight forward a process of contacting the police where a respondent has breached a Non-Molestation order.