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Understanding Residence Orders

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 22 Feb 2017 | 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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Laura - Your Question:
I got a residency order in Jan 2017 because my ex kidnapped our son and I had to snatch him back. Because of this I didn't trust him to have him without one. He is now wanting to take him to France which I don't agree to as still no trust and order or not it won't help me if he was in another country. Does me having a residency order make me able to stop this?

Our Response:
No, this will depend on any other contact agreements you have, especially with regard to holidays etc. If you are concerned for your son's safety, you should apply for a Prohibited Steps Order.
LawAndParents - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:10 PM
Mumoftwogirls- Your Question:
Hi my ex partner phoned me yesterday while he has our daughter this weekend. He has informed me that he would like my daughter to live with him as it's in her best interests! I the mother has full custody/residence and she resides with me. What can I do as he refused custody twice in court two years ago. What are my legal rights here even though I have full residence of my daughter. Thank you

Our Response:
Your ex partner will need to take this through the courts if you do not agree with him.
LawAndParents - 22-Feb-17 @ 11:42 AM
Hi my ex partner phoned me yesterday while he has our daughter this weekend. He has informed me that he would like my daughter to live with him as it's in her best interests! I the mother has full custody/residence and she resides with me. What can I do as he refused custody twice in court two years ago. What are my legal rights here even though I have full residence of my daughter. Thank you
Mumoftwogirls - 19-Feb-17 @ 10:16 AM
I got a residency order in Jan 2017 because my ex kidnapped our son and I had to snatch him back. Because of this I didn't trust him to have him without one. He is now wanting to take him to France which I don't agree to as still no trust and order or not it won't help me if he was in another country. Does me having a residency order make me able to stop this?
Laura - 18-Feb-17 @ 11:02 AM
Iya. I got a residence order in 2013 for my daughter to live with me when me and her dad broke up. We got back together but only lived together for 4months not 6 and have read 6 months then the order is outdate if you live together for 6months.. He has my daughter now he took her from my mums last year. Is the order still in date ? My daughter is only 4years old. Thanks
kay - 17-Feb-17 @ 10:51 PM
Rossy - Your Question:
Hi ive applyed for a residency order for my 2 boys aged 3 and 5 there is a directions hearing on march 3rd and a final hearing on the 3rd 4th and 5th of april, my children are subject to a child protection plan for a further 6 months on child abuse by there mother and her current partner, all social reports state there are concerns also 2 caff cas reports also state they are concerned with further phyicial abuse' so my question is could the mothers solictor advise the mother to reward me of an residency order then waiting a further 4 weeks? which looks likely the court will grant me the order in april

Our Response:
If there is any urgency i.e you feel there is an immediate risk to the children, the court case may be brought forward. However, if a child protection plan is in place and social workers are keeping a eye on things, they may be willing to wait.
LawAndParents - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:47 PM
Hi ive applyed for a residency order for my 2 boys aged 3 and 5 there is a directions hearing on march 3rd and a final hearing on the 3rd 4th and 5th of april, my children are subject to a child protection plan for a further 6 months on child abuse by there mother and her current partner, all social reports state there are concerns also 2 caff cas reports also state they are concerned with further phyicial abuse' so my question is could the mothers solictor advise the mother to reward me of an residency order then waiting a further 4 weeks? which looks likely the court will grant me the order in april
Rossy - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:08 AM
For all you dads out there my son has just got a residency order after year of pure hell what you have to do is right everything down record everything keep a log and eventually you will get your child
JaniS - 12-Feb-17 @ 2:15 AM
My son has just got residency for his daughter after a year long battle of pure hell so all you dads out there do what we did record everything wright everything down times dates recorded everything again time and date it you will get your child
Jani - 12-Feb-17 @ 2:08 AM
I got custody of my 5 children 10 years ago. My youngest is 16 and at school and has decided to go and live with her mother. The mother has rarely seen her and broken her part of the court order in respect of never coming to pick them up at weekends. My daughter and I was very close because she always respected what I have done for her, because I punished her for poor behaviour at home and school she decided to go to her mums. With the court order in place can I make her come back home?
Kevin - 10-Feb-17 @ 6:21 PM
Jo - Your Question:
My Controlling ex partner is dragging me through court as I want to relocate 2 hours from my current home and move in with my new partner. I am scared the courts willStop me moving as my romantic relationship has only been going on six months. If I married my partner could the courts still stop me from re locating within the U.K. within reasonable distance from the children father? I must add that there are no safe guarding issues and his allegations are all lies which I can prove with supportive evidential emails. We are currently in the early stages of proceedings. Many thanks.

Our Response:
The courts make their decisions based on the interests of the children. They will want to look at the children's lives and how any changes will affect them and their relationships with both parents.
LawAndParents - 10-Feb-17 @ 12:37 PM
My Controlling ex partner is dragging me through court as I want to relocate 2 hours from my current home and move in with my new partner. I am scared the courts will Stop me moving as my romantic relationship has only been going on six months. If I married my partner could the courts still stop me from re locating within the U.K. within reasonable distance from the children father? I must add that there are no safe guarding issues and his allegations are all lies which I can prove with supportive evidential emails. We are currently in the early stages of proceedings. Many thanks.
Jo - 8-Feb-17 @ 1:37 PM
Jbrc - Your Question:
My mum has residence order for my daughter but my mum has mental health she smacks my daughter and shouts at her and tell her it's not her fault no one wants her I was a drug addict in the past so dose this mean I won't be able to gety daughter back now. My mum stops me and her dad from seeing her alot and my mum spends her money on her self.

Our Response:
You need to speak to a social worker about this. Try the Family Lives Helpline
LawAndParents - 8-Feb-17 @ 12:05 PM
Help me - Your Question:
So my partner has got full custody of his son and his mum sees him every Tuesday night and every other weekend. How ever she was supposed to bring him back on Wednesday at 4 but has not brought him back and she's not telling him anything about the boy, haven't seen him in over a week tomorrow! What can we do!?

Our Response:
Is there a court order in place with details of your partner's full residency? If so, it may be a case of going back to the courts to see how the order can be enforced.
LawAndParents - 7-Feb-17 @ 12:22 PM
My mum has residence order for my daughter but my mum has mental health she smacks my daughter and shouts at her and tell her it's not her fault no one wants her i was a drug addict in the past so dose this mean I won't be able to gety daughter back now. My mum stops me and her dad from seeing her alot and my mum spends her money on her self.
Jbrc - 7-Feb-17 @ 8:14 AM
So my partner has got full custody of his son and his mum sees him every Tuesday night and every other weekend. How ever she was supposed to bring him back on Wednesday at 4 but has not brought him back and she's not telling him anything about the boy, haven't seen him in over a week tomorrow! What can we do!?
Help me - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:42 AM
Hi..i have a residency order, prohibited steps order n had a non molestation order..Ex was violent n he was found Guilty of 2 counts of child abuse, i had a ReL hearing and judge believed all domestic abuse after he threatened to cut off my head in court. He was told he was not allowed contact with my kids. Is their any way possible to change kids names as solictor wont apply 4 specific issue order as he would be in court n told kids new names. I had thought of tryin toget his parental responsibility revoked but was told i wouldnt win..please help
Lee - 2-Feb-17 @ 7:06 PM
I've had a residency order of my grandchildren for 6 years, since they were 1 yr and 2 years. My daughter moved in with myself and the children 3 years ago, however, I have recently had reason to ask her to leave. This was due to, in my opinion, safe guarding issues. My daughter is now saying that mental health services are assisting her to find a home and are going to support her to regain custody of the children. Where do I stand as their main carer for the past 6 years?
Nanna - 1-Feb-17 @ 7:52 PM
Hi There Where there has been issues in the relationship and one parent hasnt realised the partner is emotionally abusive them, after the separation one parent continues to shout and swear in front of a toddler the other parent tries to to walk away from this but the other parent seems to see this as being ignored. The parent is trying to be civil due to child being present. The abusive partner exaggerating things and twisting ex partners words trying to blame everyone else but themself. Selfish and does not see what is happening to the child or the parent. The other parent decides had enough of abuse and the other parent cant be civil and blaming the other parent for it goes bypasses mediation due to emotional abuse (not sure if the parent knew they were being abusive as part of controlling self couldnt see how the other parent felt self centred and short tempered) abusive parent believed has child in best interest but actually doesnt. the child was a novelty from the beginning parent does love child but doesnt show it in anything the other parent does alot more and loves child and cared since day one. The child was being pushed from pillow to post tired and behaviout started to change due to PR 50/50 this wasnt clearly working for child so other parent went for court order for living arrangements. Can the parent who was emotionally abused and because parent dis it in front of child can that parent stop other parent from having contavt until court order?
PR - 17-Jan-17 @ 7:48 PM
Hi I got residency of my daughter we got a court order for seeing her dad I stopped it for serveral reasons im bk in court with him he phoned ss for no reason saying i camt cope with her and iv got mental issues (I havnt theres no proof) we been split up 4 years and would I lose residency/ custody cos of it?Thanks x
Saz - 14-Jan-17 @ 6:51 PM
T.C. - Your Question:
My sister married a non uk man approx 2007. He moved to uk. They had a daughter. About a year later they divorced and he signed a residency order with no contact order. Thereafter he disappeared never to be heard from again - over then next 5 years has provided to support, gifts, money and has had zero contact with his daughter. My sister died and named me as my nieces guardian to live with me and I will raise her and control all money/assets left by my sister which has been left to my niece until she is 25. All of a sudden after 5 years no contact he has attempted to get in touch with me from his home in a non EU country. I do not know what he wants and I'm terrified he will try to take custody of my niece and I'm doing so will allow him access to my sisters estate. She's all we have left if my sister. Our parents (nieces grandparents) live with me also and have been there for my niece since birth as have I and here is all my niece knows - can he try and take my niece now my sister has died and access the money my sister has left Lexie (and me to help raise her)? Everyone previously has said in the past if he ever tried he wouldn't stand a chance as has had nothing to do with his daughter in 5 years? What rights do I have legally?

Our Response:
It would be worth speaking to a solicitor to legalise any guardianship you have over your niece. Then the father would need to apply to the courts for any changes to the existing arrangements.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-17 @ 2:27 PM
My sister married a non uk man approx 2007. He moved to uk. They had a daughter. About a year later they divorced and he signed a residency order with no contact order. Thereafter he disappeared never to be heard from again - over then next 5 years has provided to support, gifts, money and has had zero contact with his daughter. My sister died and named me as my nieces guardian to live with me and I will raise her and control all money/assets left by my sister which has been left to my niece until she is 25. All of a sudden after 5 years no contact he has attempted to get in touch with me from his home in a non EU country. I do not know what he wants and I'm terrified he will try to take custody of my niece and I'm doing so will allow him access to my sisters estate. She's all we have left if my sister. Our parents (nieces grandparents) live with me also and have been there for my niece since birth as have I and here is all my niece knows - can he try and take my niece now my sister has died and access the money my sister has left Lexie (and me to help raise her)? Everyone previously has said in the past if he ever tried he wouldn't stand a chance as has had nothing to do with his daughter in 5 years? What rights do I have legally?
T.C. - 10-Jan-17 @ 4:06 AM
Charleen83 - Your Question:
Hi, I was awarded residency in 2015, due to this my ex partner made an allegation that I assaulted our child. She was removed due to bail conditions being put in place. Her dad put her in a new school, now today they have dropped all charges and NFA'd the case. Apparently my residency order is now applicable again, and seeing as there has been no child care arrangement order awarded to him am I right in assuming I can get her back legally due to the fact that I have a residency order? ASAP help needed please & thank you.

Our Response:
You should seek advice from the social worker and also the courts about the legitimacy of this as we do not have all the details.
LawAndParents - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:54 PM
Hi, I was awarded residency in 2015, due to this my ex partner made an allegation that I assaulted our child. She was removed due to bail conditions being put in place. Her dad put her in a new school, now today they have dropped all charges and NFA'd the case. Apparently my residency order is now applicable again, and seeing as there has been no child care arrangement order awarded to him am I right in assuming I can get her back legally due to the fact that I have a residency order? ASAP help needed please & thank you.
Charleen83 - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:46 PM
Jutty - Your Question:
Hi there House just want a bit of advice if anyone can help me I have two daughters what age 11 and 109 my ex partner has residency order over my youngest daughter and her mother and stepfather House residency of my oldest daughter do I still have parental rights I have a contact order but my oldest daughter is wanting to change your name by deed poll do I have a say in this

Our Response:
If you have parental repsonsibility (ie. you are the biological father and your name is on the birth certificate) and your daughter is under 16, your consent will required before the name can be changed.
LawAndParents - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:27 PM
Hi there House just want a bit of advice if anyone can help me I have two daughters what age 11 and 109 my ex partner has residency order over my youngest daughter and her mother and stepfather House residency of my oldest daughter do I still have parental rights I have a contact order but my oldest daughter is wanting to change your name by deed poll do I have a say in this
Jutty - 3-Jan-17 @ 3:11 PM
I haven't started court proceedings but my ex has taken our child and is saying he will not be bringing her back on the date we agreed where do I stand legally
Ct - 27-Dec-16 @ 9:15 AM
Redhead - Your Question:
HiI have residency but I'm scared my ex won't bring back my child, what can I do if this happens he also has pr? But there is a child arrangement order in place through the court stating times and dates contact takes place with him.

Our Response:
If your ex breaches the court order you can go back to the courts and the police will be able to help make sure the order is enforced.
LawAndParents - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:45 AM
Hi I have residency but I'm scared my ex won't bring back my child, what can I do if this happens he also has pr? But there is a child arrangement order in place through the court stating times and dates contact takes place with him.
Redhead - 17-Dec-16 @ 11:40 AM
Diamond - Your Question:
I got a residency order in my name without any contact order being placed due to my exes failure to respond. Caffcass were involved due to domestic violence and were not impressed with my ex's emotional response from what they saw. After 3 years of no contact from the ex, I felt the need to reach out. Gradually over the past 3 months he has seen the children who are very young, but it has become evident he is using the children to try an regain some control over me. His emotional state became questionable and it became evident he had been using drugs. For my security I have stopped all contact and told him to see his solicitor. I can't help but feel scared and I am regretting contacting him at all. I tried to do what I thought was best for my children but seeing his life and his character I am more concerned than before as to whether he could cope. My question is how can I legally protect our children from him should he seek contact? I really do not feel he is in any emotional state or physically secure position to have contact at this time. He does have many violent convictions. He was done for battery towards myself and a previous ex gf amongst other accounts of brawling.

Our Response:
If you fear for your own safety or that of your children, you may need to apply to the courts for a non molestation order.
LawAndParents - 8-Dec-16 @ 12:12 PM
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