How to contest a Non-Molestation Order

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If someone has applied for a Non-Molestation Order (‘NMO’) against you and you disagree with the allegations made, it can be incredibly distressing. Although the courts take domestic abuse injunctions very seriously, there are options available to respondents, including contesting or defending a Non-Molestation Order.

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order can contain various clauses but will usually prevent a person from using or threatening to use violence towards their ex-partner and their children, including harassing or pestering them and coming near their property.

The person applying for a non-molestation is the applicant and the ‘accused’ is the respondent.

Why has my partner applied for a Non-Molestation Order?

Non-Molestation Orders are intended to protect victims of domestic abuse. Although the name might lead you to presume that this relates to physical acts of abuse, a Non-Molestation Order can protect against emotional/mental, verbal, sexual, online, and financial abuse, as well as harassment or stalking and coercive control.

Whilst these orders are incredibly effective at protecting victims of domestic violence, there is sometimes a risk of one being made where the allegations are false or exaggerated. An example of this is in divorce or separation cases, where one ex-partner alleges that they have been subject to domestic abuse to try to get a better financial settlement.

We understand that receiving a Non-Molestation Order can be incredibly stressful and upsetting. If your ex-partner has made false or exaggerated allegations against you, we will do our best to help you challenge the Non-Molestation Order.

How long does a Non-Molestation Order last?

Non-Molestation Orders typically last between three months and a year, but this varies depending on the circumstances.

Can I see my child if I have a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order does not automatically mean you cannot see your children. However, it does make child contact arrangements more challenging, especially if the order prevents you from going to your ex-partner’s property to visit or collect them.

It is important to seek specialist legal advice if you are subject to a Non-Molestation Order; lawyers can help negotiate an agreement with your ex-partner regarding child contact with the necessary safeguards in place to prevent you from unintentionally breaching the order. This could include a court order such as a Child Arrangements Order or a Specific Issue Order.

How do I contest a Non-Molestation Order?

Whilst the court will always seek evidence before granting a Non-Molestation Order, these orders can be made without notice (‘ex-parte’). This means that the Order has been made without notifying the respondent that the application is before the court. This is to support genuine victims of domestic abuse who require urgent protection.

If this has happened to you and you believe there is no evidence to support the order, you can dispute it.

The court will list another hearing around a week after the initial Order was made, and this is your chance to challenge it.

There are two options for challenging a Non-Molestation Order:

  1. You can choose not to oppose the order on the basis that you do not accept the claims made against you (a ‘no-admissions’ basis); or
  2. You can dispute the order and seek to prove the applicant wrong in their allegations.

You must seek legal advice from a family law solicitor as soon as you receive the order. Our specialist team can advise you on the process of challenging the order and whether you are likely to be successful in your defence. We will also help ensure the conditions of the order are still adhered to, as these will still need to be met while the dispute is in progress.

Our lawyers will advise you on each step, but the process for challenging/defending a Non-Molestation Order is:

  • Responding to the Non-Molestation Order, giving notice that you do not agree to this.
  • Attend a court hearing, where you will provide your own statement and evidence supporting your case.
  • The court will decide whether it is reasonable for the Order to be removed.

How do I prove that a Non-Molestation Order is false?

It is not for you to prove the allegations made against you are false. It is up to the Applicant to prove they are true. However, the court will give you permission to prepare a statement setting out your version of events.

Examples of evidence to demonstrate the allegations made against you are false include screenshots of text messages or emails or witness statements from anyone who may have witnessed the incidents set out in the applicant’s statement such as family or friends.

Can I use Legal Aid to contest a Non-Molestation Order?

When contesting a Non-Molestation Order, legal aid will not be available in the vast majority of cases.

Contact our family lawyers about contesting a Non-Molestation Order

If you have received a Non-Molestation Order and believe the allegations to be false, our expert solicitors may be able to help you dispute it. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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