What Is a Possession Order?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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A possession order is an order from a court that can be used in a number of different ways, including providing directions about possession of property or child custody arrangements. Various legal systems may use different language to refer to various types of court orders, and the kind of possession order under discussion is usually clear from the context. The order must consider the facts of a situation, the laws pertaining to the matter at hand, and the best interests of all parties involved. A judge cannot issue an order that would contradict any of these concerns.

In the case of a possession order related to property, the most common application is a court order giving a landlord the authority to retake a property after evicting a tenant. Extensive laws protect landlords and tenants, and during the eviction process, they must be carefully followed. The landlord needs a court order to perform an eviction and take possession of the property, ensuring that she follows the process and does not infringe on the rights of the tenant. Tenants can attempt to fight the order if they have grounds to do so, such as proof that they have paid their rent.


Possession orders can also be issued for other kinds of property, like cars and boats. The court can review the facts of a case, determine the rightful owner, and issue an order to return the property to the owner. This gives property owners the right to retake their possessions. Without a court order, they may be violating the law if they attempt to retake property or solicit assistance from law enforcement officers who normally help with the enforcement of possession orders.

In some regions, this term refers to a child custody agreement. Courts generally agree that as long as both parents in a divorce or separation have an interest in the health and welfare of the child, they should have an opportunity to see him. The possession order sets out terms to make sure that each parent has time with the child; it may stipulate that the child spend half the week at one house and half at the other, or breaks with a remote parent while living with the other parent to go to school. Violations of the possession order can be grounds for revoking it. Parents may also contest the right to custody on the grounds of concerns about neglect, abuse, or dangerous situations.


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