LEGAL EAGLE: Non-Molestation Order threat – what you can do in response
If you have received a letter stating the above, you will firstly need to carefully review the contents. This is called a ‘warning letter’ and warns if a certain behaviour continues, then this may result in a court application for a court order to stop the behaviour. This is one of the steps before considering court proceedings. Therefore, it is essential you know what behaviours constitute ‘harassment’ in the letter to prevent a court application.
It is important to note that a Non-Molestation Order can be ordered if the court believe it is necessary to prevent one person ‘molesting’ another person. The definition of ‘molesting’ is vague and case specific. Case law tells us that it is conduct aimed at a high degree of harassment which needs the intervention of the court.
Harassment can include a multitude of behaviours and the letter should specify what behaviours you may have displayed towards your ex-husband. For example, this could be numerous calls and/or texts, going to their home and/or place of work etc. It could also be physically or emotionally harmful incidents. You will secondly need to consider whether you have displayed this behaviour as this may give your ex-husband merit to apply for a Non-Molestation Order.
It may be best to receive legal advice in this respect to determine whether your ex-husband is able to apply for a Non-Molestation Order if you do not believe you have been harassing him. It is important to tell your solicitor everything that has happened so that you can get clear and appropriate advice about your situation. If you are advised that your ex-husband does not have any merit to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, the solicitor could respond to the warning letter and set out why the behaviour has not constituted harassment and how his potential application for a Non-Molestation Order lacks merit.
On the other hand, if you recognise that your behaviour may have constituted harassment or if you do not want to dispute the allegations to avoid him making a court application, it would be advisable for you to stop the behaviour specified in the letter (or any other behaviour which could be considered harassment). If the behaviour does not continue, your ex-husband will have no merit to apply for a Non-Molestation Order.
In any event, a continuation of the behaviour specified in the letter does risk him making a Non-Molestation Order application to court.