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Understanding Residence Orders

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 22 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Residence Order Residency Custody

There may come a time – either as the result of a separation or a divorce – where the issue of where and with whom your children live comes to the fore. For this reason, the application for a Residence Order is normally made.

What is a Residence Order

A Residence Order is an order issued by the Family Proceedings Court, and details which parent the children should reside with. This order normally provides details of when and where the children can be visited by the parent who has failed to gain residency. Once the order has been granted, Parental Responsibility for the children goes to the person with whom the children will be living.

Applying for a Residence Order

You should only apply for a Residence Order if you and your partner cannot come to an amicable arrangement relating to the living arrangements of your children. If this is the case, you should consult with a solicitor specialising in family law, who will advise you on the best course of action to take, and may suggest that a period of mediation is entered into before pursuing the matter through the courts.

Paramountcy

This is the term used to describe how the court will look upon such requests for the issuing of a Residence Order. Paramountcy relates to the importance to the children of where they should live and also what is in their best interests. For example, if the court feels that the children’s best interests would to stay with their mother, then they are obliged to issue in her favour.

The most important aspect of any court proceeding relating to the care and wellbeing of your children is what is best for them. This is something that can become a secondary issue if the circumstances between parents is not amicable. Therefore, if your children are old enough to understand, you should discuss the situation with them, and if they are old enough to decide, ask them where they would prefer to live.

Visiting Rights

If you are the parent that the court has ruled against, then you will have visiting rights. This means that between you and your partner you must agree – or the court will make a ruling on your behalf – as to how often and for how long you see your children each day or each week.

It is important that the children have access to both parents and also have the means to contact either parent as and when they wish to. The court may also rule that telephone calls are allowed in between visits in order to maintain some level of continuity.

The most important thing to remember during the application for a Residence Order are the thoughts and feelings of the children involved. You should – at all times – make sure they are aware of the fact that they are not at fault and are not to blame for the circumstances in which they are caught up.

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My daughter was born in 2001 and my ex(mother) and I were not married. My ex and I ended up in court in 2013 to settle my parental responsibility as she would not agree. She tried to counter my application with a move to double barrel my daughters surname which was overruled. At this time it was agreed that the residence would be with her mother. There is no mention on the Court paperwork of this being agreed or any time schedule. At present my daughter has become a terrible teen. Argumentative, lying, abusive, and very deceiving, as her mother says. Every time this happens I am brought into it as a pinball go-between. One says this, the other says that etc. Any advice or intervention I try to help with is returned by my ex as "your just a part time father", even though I call my daughter every week, see her every fortnight, and have always paid my dues It has now come to the Final Straw, as my ex said. She's not welcome here anymore, as far as I'm concerned she's dead to me." I no longer live in the area so if she has to live with me then her schooling would be severely disrupted as she would have to change schools. It is clearly in my daughters best interests to remain with her mother at least till her schooling finishes. Can she legally kick her out? Or is this child neglect? Where does this put both my ex and me legally with the residence order? Thank you for your time.
Jon (piggy in the mi - 22-Apr-18 @ 9:00 PM
I have had a contact order for the last 15 months for my children which stated contacts be built up to staying contact. After 18 months of consistent contact my ex is still not facilitating this infact hindering at every opportunity with more allegations. I have applied to vary the order to get defined access which would include staying contact. The court order has been breached be 4 times and contact stopped since i put in the application to vary with ex resisting and putting in more allegations. I want to know if i should be applying for a change of residence as the kids do want to stay with me and there are no safeguarding issues. My traveling time has been 5 hours which is the same amount i have been seeing the kids. I cannot continue with this and the fact contacts havent progressed are affectingthe childrens emotional wellbeing. How long can she keep doing this. It has been nearly 2 years since my inital application. The case is being heard by lay magistrates again
Sam - 21-Apr-18 @ 1:02 PM
V - Your Question:
My son is 11.There is NO court order.his father has not been in contact for 9 years (no birthday or Christmas Card) My son wanted to change his surname to the same as mine and his sister (who's was done by deed poll when she was 14 ( born before the law changed) so after £400 of solicitors fees we tracked him down and got his consent to the name change.His father is now saying he wants contact with him and my son son dose not wish to see him. He is now having nightmares about his dad. taking him away. where do I stand MY 14 year old daughter has said she will kill herself if I make her see him (she remembers what he was like)

Our Response:
If the children do not want contact with their father, tell him so. If he is determined, he might apply to the courts for contact and you will be able to give your opinion there.
LawAndParents - 11-Apr-18 @ 11:42 AM
Worriedmum - Your Question:
I have a residency order due to my ex not returning my daughter on previous occcasions. He has now moved address and is unwilling to provide me with the new address where my daughter will be staying. Does he have a right to do this as I wont have a clue where she is if he refuses to return her.

Our Response:
An address does not have to be provided. Most parents will usually give one just to make the other parent feel more comfortable but they are not obliged to do so. A contact number in case of emergencies is all that is really needed.
LawAndParents - 11-Apr-18 @ 10:43 AM
My son is 11.There is NO court order. his father has not been in contact for 9 years (no birthday or Christmas Card) My son wanted to change his surname to the same as mine and his sister (who's was done by deed poll when she was 14 ( born before the law changed) so after £400 of solicitors fees we tracked him down and got his consent to the name change. His father is now saying he wants contact with him and my son son dose not wish to see him. He is now having nightmares about his dad. taking him away. where do i stand MY 14 year old daughter has said she will kill herself if i make her see him (she remembers what he was like)
V - 10-Apr-18 @ 2:24 PM
I have a residency order due to my ex not returning my daughter on previous occcasions. He has now moved address and is unwilling to provide me with the new address where my daughter will be staying. Does he have a right to do this as I wont have a clue where she is if he refuses to return her.
Worriedmum - 8-Apr-18 @ 6:06 PM
Can my ex girlfriend take my son from england to northern Ireland without my permission
Paul phillips - 29-Mar-18 @ 1:54 PM
MM - Your Question:
Daughter aged nearly 16 wishes to change her surname by deedpoll once she turns 16. Residency order in place but estranged from father (he pays monthly but choses not to see her). Does residency order end at 16?

Our Response:
Parental responsibility ends at age of 18 unless your residence order states otherwise.
LawAndParents - 21-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
Daughter aged nearly 16 wishes to change her surname by deedpoll once she turns 16.Residency order in place but estranged from father (he pays monthly but choses not to see her).Does residency order end at 16?
MM - 20-Mar-18 @ 11:47 AM
hello their.i need advice for i live in france and need help for getting french citizenship.i was adopted in 1973 Under one name my mother later divorced later andremarried Under my name now.the french authorities want a official certificate with my adoption date Under first name and want a official paper with my new famially name and the date .is it automatically my name changed Under british law and if so can such a paper be provided to the french authorities.and if its not the case how can i find out how my name was changed with the date.
lochross - 14-Mar-18 @ 7:25 PM
Lee - Your Question:
I have a residency order from 2012/2013 is this still valid? My son who is 8 year's old doesnt see his dad and doesn't want to ever again but I'm worried that his dad will take me to court and force him too. My son has horrible memories over him

Our Response:
A residency order will usually last until a child is 16 or 18. There is nothing to prevent the father from applying to court to have the residency order overturned, but the judge will look at all the circumstances and make a decision in your son's best interests.
LawAndParents - 6-Mar-18 @ 3:38 PM
Nevada- Your Question:
Our granddaughter who's 4 has lived with us since birth and my daughter walked out a week ago. I'm getting just bully text messages saying she's not coming back. How does that leave us. What rights do we have as grandparents and I'm afraid ss will take her away from her loving home. Our daughter recently met some guy who's promised her the world by the sounds of it! But she doesn't need to just drop her child. She can still see her. I know she loves her so much but she's not thinking right.I need help. I want our grandauhter to stay safe with us. There are no reasons I can think of that she's gone.

Our Response:
You can apply for a residence order to give some security. Ask Citizens' Advice or social services for help with this.
LawAndParents - 6-Mar-18 @ 12:42 PM
I won residency in 2013 on my son as his dad took him for few days in 2012 and didnt return him, as I was going through the courts for residency my ex domestically assulted me and police and ss where involved. I won residency andss where concerned about my boy and his dad contact. Ss wanted supervised contact in contact center but I managed to change their mind and his dad have supervised contact with some one I trust outside contact center. Any how he tried using my child as a weapon and tried getting back into a relationship again, and had a view domestic assaults on me where I contacted police everytime. My ex moved away after I passed out after he hit me in front of my boy. I didnt report this as I just got ss out my life. My son asked a few times about his dad and over the course 8 month there was no contact between the two of them.After 8 month his dad returned and over time the gradually have a relationship, but also he was using my son to get to me.A few times he tried to get back with me and because I was in a new relationship he tried to harm my partner in front my son which I had to report to police.He has phoned ss on me 3 times making allegations about my mental health and physical health, alcohol and supposedly drug abuse, and phoned police 2 times at a weekend to do night time welfare check. Even considering all this since Christmas 2016 my ex has had his boy every weekend near enough. So when my boy was at his dads on weekend's I would go out on a night out and relax. Well beginning of February he took my son off me because apparently im an acoholicand cant look after my son and he has applied for court order and pso order. I havent heard anything from ss in meantime. I am wondering does my residency order from 2013 is still valid? If so could I just collect my son from school or could police get involved ?..... I tried to get information and advice from solicitor who I had in 2013. He dont think I will get legal aid. Please help ??
Shez31 - 5-Mar-18 @ 4:42 PM
I have a residency order from 2012/2013 is this still valid? My son who is 8 year's old doesnt see his dad and doesn't want to ever again but I'm worried that his dad will take me to court and force him too. My son has horrible memories over him
Lee - 5-Mar-18 @ 10:58 AM
Our granddaughter who's 4has lived with us since birth and my daughter walked out a week ago . I'm getting just bully text messages saying she's not coming back.How does that leave us. What rights do we have as grandparents and I'm afraid ss will take her away from her loving home. Our daughter recently met some guy who's promised her the world by the sounds of it! But she doesn't need to just drop her child. She can still see her. I know she loves her so much but she's not thinking right. I need help.I want our grandauhter to stay safe with us. There are no reasons I can think of that she's gone.
Nevada - 4-Mar-18 @ 10:11 AM
Bayley88 - Your Question:
Hi I need advice my ex got a residence order 4 years ago for our son as I was I’ll anyway my son visiting regularly and is dirty under fed and smelly social services are now involved but I was wondering can I apply to court to have residence order overturned my son 9 now gets upset wen has to be returned to dad and begs to live with me where do I stand? Thank you

Our Response:
Yes you can apply to the courts. They will look at all the circumstances and make a decision based on the interests of your son.
LawAndParents - 27-Feb-18 @ 3:28 PM
Hi I need advice my ex got a residence order 4 years ago for our son as I was I’ll anyway my son visiting regularly and is dirty under fed and smelly social services are now involved but I was wondering can I apply to court to have residence order overturned my son 9 now gets upset wen has to be returned to dad and begs to live with me where do I stand? Thank you
Bayley88 - 26-Feb-18 @ 10:44 AM
Ger- Your Question:
I am a father of two.boy aged two and a girl aged 6.my ex and I were never married an she has a two bedroom flat a d I have a studio flat which I rent threw the council over the past years since thr birth of our 1st.u was always there near enough every day. But 10 years later on our relationship went wrong.since this she is dictator g yo me ad and when I can see the kids. I just want to see my children every week for a reasonable time.I don't know where I stand legally with thus situation but feel I have to do whatever she says.I work mon to Fri and have weekend available. And also willing to take my kids I full time or anything like this.l just want fair time with my children. Can you advise me in what time I should b getting with my children.Thanks.

Our Response:
There are no specific laws/guidelines as to time, but if you feel your children would benefit from spending more time with you, their father, you could try mediation to come up with a formal agreement with your ex. If that fails, you can apply to court for a child arrangements order using form C100.
LawAndParents - 16-Feb-18 @ 3:26 PM
I am a father of two.boyaged two and a girl aged 6.my ex and I were never married an she has a two bedroom flat a d I have a studio flat which i rent threw the councilover the past years since thr birth of our 1st .u was always there near enough every day. But 10 years later on our relationship went wrong .since this she is dictator g yo me ad and when I can see the kids. I just want to see my children every week for a reasonable time .I don't know where I stand legally with thus situation but feel I have to do whatever she says . I work mon to Fri and have weekend available. And also willing to take my kids Ifull time or anything like this .l just want fair time with mychildren. Can you advise me in what time i should b getting with my children . Thanks...
Ger - 14-Feb-18 @ 8:10 PM
Candy - Your Question:
Iv had my 21mth grandson since he 10 days old?i basically walked in and walked out with him n told his parents wen they cum off the weed I’ll help work him back into their home?if anything theyv gone worse?gransfson had 2 hosp overstays recently?one was CROUP the second his tubes leading to his lungs wer blocked so both realy serious illness?they turned up stoned first time/stayed an hour/went out 4 times in that hour?held her very limp son for less than a minute n handed bk to me his nanna?social services were called although didn’t visit?i explained why I’d taken him n they feted me any help I need if want go for full access or joint?i said I need consider my son whose baby dad n will get n touch later date? Second hosp stay neither turned up in fact I was his sole visitor although I never left his side for s second day/night?dince been bk home they visit for 20 mins n cudnt wait to get out to get stoned?they claim all monies for him I hav my monthly universal credit of £190 but I do get help a lot from my mum as well? I’m honestly stuck as to wot do I do now although I hav 100% bk up from s/s but doctor in hosp told me to protect my grandson I must go ahead n get sum legal rights as mum cud just walk in n take him although I’m not a violent person she wud bring it out of me if she tried taking him in the situation but she don’t even ring anymore asking how he is? She just doesn’t want him just wot she can get off the bk of him?please help?

Our Response:
It's definitely worth considering something like a Special Guardianship Order. Talk again to social services, they will be able to help you with this.
LawAndParents - 5-Feb-18 @ 11:40 AM
Iv had my 21mth grandson since he 10 days old?i basically walked in and walked out with him n told his parents wen they cum off the weed I’ll help work him back into their home?if anything theyv gone worse?gransfson had 2 hosp overstays recently?one was CROUP the second his tubes leading to his lungs wer blocked so both realy serious illness?they turned up stoned first time/stayed an hour/went out 4 times in that hour?held her very limp son for less than a minute n handed bk to me his nanna?social services were called although didn’t visit?i explained why I’d taken him n they feted me any help I need if want go for full access or joint?i said I need consider my son whose baby dad n will get n touch later date? Second hosp stay neither turned up in fact I was his sole visitor although I never left his side for s second day/night?dince been bk home they visit for 20 mins n cudnt wait to get out to get stoned?they claim all monies for him I hav my monthly universal credit of £190 but I do get help a lot from my mum as well? I’m honestly stuck as to wot do I do now although I hav 100% bk up from s/s but doctor in hosp told me to protect my grandson I must go ahead n get sum legal rights as mum cud just walk in n take him although I’m not a violent person she wud bring it out of me if she tried taking him in the situation but she don’t even ring anymore asking how he is? She just doesn’t want him just wot she can get off the bk of him?please help?
Candy - 2-Feb-18 @ 2:16 PM
continued She also has an ongoing nit issue, I treat it when she comes to me but this weekend I took her home and asked for him to do it again, he said he can’t, it makes no difference and it will have to wait till she comes back to me in two weeks. She is staying up until 2am on her phone as dad goes to bed early and sleeps in a room downstairs. My daughter needs stability and care and love as well as consistency and boundaries. I lost her at a time when I was ill and going through a breakdown. Is there anything I can do to change this?
Red - 28-Dec-17 @ 7:01 PM
My husband and I separated and our daughter lived with me without issue. However we got into a situation where he had met someone but also couldn’t decide if he wanted to make it work between us. He told a lot of lies and because I adored him I believed him, he went backwards and forwards with myself and this other woman, on an almost weekly basis, each time begging forgiveness and promising the earth. I should add that several years before my (not his) daughter passed away aged 13, and then in 2015 I was diagnosed with cancer. My husband and I also had a difficult marriage as he has Aspergers and struggles with certain situations. Anyway, the longer this went on the worse my mental health suffered, he was aware of this and I pleaded with him to leave me be but still he came back and left. The final straw came after a week where he changed his mind for 5 consecutive days. I ended up taking an overdose on being discharged I was put into his care at his request and he was abusive and again left the following day. I ended up in hospital again and he filed for residency. I was too low to fight and just signed away my rights. He left me alone for the next month and then it all started again, he got me to agree to a divorce and said there was no children of the marriage or property and said we would marry again and this time it would be a fresh start.I lost all claim on the marital home and no provision was made regarding our daughter. For the next few months We went away together a dozen times throughout the year, and still he would go back and forth from me to this other woman unable to make his mind up because he said he felt guilty. All of the time my daughter who is 11 was subject to this and it has had a damaging effect on her. Finally I left the area but he used my daughters phone to make contact and beg me to return. I did and this emotional abuse continued as soon as I came back, finally I snapped again and my mental health broke down and I was admitted for a third overdose.I have since left the area and through counselling, medication and family support I am managing to get stronger and better. However I want my daughter back, although she wants to live with her father I don’t think it is the best for her, she has emotional issues that have been made worse, I understand and take responsibility for what I did, that was unforgivable, but she also witnessed daddy with mummy, then not, then with, then not. She was asked to lie about spending time with the other woman, her eating is a serious cause for concern and her mealtime has become a battle ground where food has been thrown up against the wall, her weight is desperately low and the other female has advised her father to fill her up on chocolate. Eating was not an issue when she lived with me. She also has an ongoing nit issue, I treat it when she comes to me but this weekend I took her home and asked for him to do it again, he said he can’t, it makes no difference and it will have to w
Red - 28-Dec-17 @ 6:53 PM
I was attacked by my expartner the case is going to crown court It was infront of my young child and was a very nasty attack. He is not mentally stable. Should I file for a child residentcy order straight away if social services have assessed him as a risk? Thank you
Worried - 18-Dec-17 @ 9:53 AM
Irishfox - Your Question:
I was born in Northern Ireland but I lived in Scotland for 11years and me and my son moved to Northern Ireland in August last year were as my sons father remeand in Scotland, my son had been going back and forth on holidays to see his father but this August he went over to Scotland and was meant to return a week before 1st September but I was then informed by my sons father via text message that I was not getting my son back. He is fighting for a residents order but but my solicitor has also made me aware that I still have parental rights and that I could go over to Scotland and get my son but I’m not to sure of my rights in Scotland and it’s still an on going case at the moment and nothing has been set in stone legally as of yet, I would be greatful for any advice please.

Our Response:
Your child has rights to contact with both parents. While you could simply go and "get your son" - you need to consider what would be in his best interests and also that his father may simply do the same again...which can't be good for your child, as all children need some stability and routine. It would be better to wait and see what the courts decide really.
LawAndParents - 8-Dec-17 @ 10:44 AM
I was born in Northern Ireland but I lived in Scotland for 11years and me and my son moved to Northern Ireland in August last year were as my sons father remeand in Scotland, my son had been going back and forth on holidays to see his father but this August he went over to Scotland and was meant to return a week before 1st September but I was then informed by my sons father via text message that I was not getting my son back. He is fighting for a residents order but but my solicitor has also made me aware that I still have parental rights and that I could go over to Scotland and get my son but I’m not to sure of my rights in Scotland and it’s still an on going case at the moment and nothing has been set in stone legally as of yet, I would be greatful for any advice please.
Irishfox - 7-Dec-17 @ 12:18 AM
Tam - Your Question:
I had a residency order and she adopted. This was because at the time same sex couples could not both adopt

Our Response:
You might have to try mediation or court order to sort this out. If you had a residency order/parental responsibility you may be responsible for maintenance.
LawAndParents - 6-Dec-17 @ 12:17 PM
I had a residency order and she adopted. This was because at the time same sex couples could not both adopt
Tam - 5-Dec-17 @ 5:09 PM
Tam - Your Question:
My ex same sex partner adopted 2 boys in 2004 and I had a residency order as same sex could not both adopt foster children then. I have been estranged from her for 13 years and she left and has since married her now wife. I have seen the boys occasionally but it has been very difficult. She is now signed off work through mental health issues and has decided that I should now pay for the boys. She has been very threatening about the whole situation and I need to know if the residency order still applies and if I am legally financially responsible. She has prevented me from seeing the boys for most of this time. They are now 14 and 16 and I am very threatened by her. I never had a civil partnership with her

Our Response:
We can't quite work out what the situation was when you first adopted. Who was the residency order for?
LawAndParents - 5-Dec-17 @ 12:54 PM
Worriedmum - Your Question:
Hello, I have a final hearing on Thursday. basic outline - split wit my ex in November last year, went to work in January to come home to an empty house - he'd taken my then 2 year old daughter to where he is from (2 hours away). I got her back in march and 2 weeks later he put in an emergency order. She was removed from my house by Police and his Mum ( no social workers involved) She has been there since April and I have been able to have her at my home every fortnight for 2 nights since August. His order is based on lies ( I'm an alcoholic apparently, and abusive etc. ( I have proof against everything he has lied about) Anyway, 4 court hearing later and its our final one on Thursday. ( please note, I have my 9 year old and 14 year old with me still, after all checks have been done, Section 37 says no risk with me etc) Anyway, I have a barrister ( I believe he does too) I want to know, if the judge makes the order for her to return home, is it immediate? And how is it done, as I would have to go collect her - his family are not the nicest approachable people on the planet!!) The judge has had quite a few words to say to him over the hearings and questioned a lot - but not to me. I am a normal working Mum of 4 ( I have a 17 year old who lives away)

Our Response:
The judge will normally give details of when/how any arrangements should be put in place. If you do not want contact with the father, make this clear to the judge who will specify an alternative arrangement.
LawAndParents - 4-Dec-17 @ 3:45 PM
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