The Occupation Orders Family Law Act of 1996

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The United Kingdoms Family Law Act of 1996 was created to address the issues of matrimonial separation and the termination of a marriage. An important feature of the act is the occupation order. In instances of domestic violence an occupation order is a decision by a court of law that dictates who can and cannot live in a residence.


Before the Family Law Act of 1996 instances of domestic violence were covered under the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act of 1976 (DVMP). The DVMP only covered domestic violence when it related to a man and women who lived in a home as man and wife. The act protected a spouse and any children in the home from being physically abused by the other spouse.

Expansion of the Law

The Family Law Act expanded protection to include non-married individuals who live as man and wife, cohabitants who simply live in the same household, certain relatives, individuals who have agreed to marry and non-married parents of a minor child.

Benefits of an Occupation Order

An occupation order can prevent an individual from entering or remaining in the home. If both individuals must remain in the home an occupation order can specify which areas of the home each party is allowed to occupy.

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