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Understanding Residence Orders

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 28 Dec 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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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
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)
Worriedmum - 4-Dec-17 @ 12:08 PM
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
Tam - 2-Dec-17 @ 9:12 PM
Hollis - Your Question:
Our nephew has been living with us for the last 10 years after his mum died and his dad was completely unable to cope. The court gave us a residence order with shared parental responsibility. In the meantime his dad has also died. No formal arrangements were ever made for us to be guardians. As my nephew is now 17 and the residence order expired when he became 16, who is actually responsible for making day to day decisions and give consent for things that a parent would normally do? The best I can see is that we are kinship carers now rather than having any parental responsibility.

Our Response:
You can adopt a child up to the age of 18, is that an option for you? A Special Guardianship order is also an option. A solicitor or family support worker (ask you local authority) might be able to give you some advice.
LawAndParents - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:15 PM
Curlytop - Your Question:
I am back in court Monday for 2nd hearing for child arrangement order. Cafcass have done their safeguarding review, it seems they are questioning why I haven't asked to be sgo for the grandchildren, firstly it was social care who advised to go for residence order and secondly, what is the difference ??? I am getting alittle nervous now as court date approaches, the order is uncontested as both parents although not together, agree boys should stay with us, any advice please ??

Our Response:
Both orders are quite similar in the case of a grandparent looking after a grandchild. The main difference between the two is that in the case of a residence order, one or both of the parents with parental responsibility can applied to have the order revoked etc. A special guardianship order might give you and the grandchild more long term security.
LawAndParents - 27-Nov-17 @ 2:26 PM
Our nephew has been living with us for the last 10 years after his mum died and his dad was completely unable to cope. The court gave us a residence order with shared parental responsibility. In the meantime his dad has also died. No formal arrangements were ever made for us to be guardians. As my nephew is now 17 and the residence order expired when he became 16, who is actually responsible for making day to day decisions and give consent for things that a parent would normally do? The best I can see is that we are kinship carers now rather than having any parental responsibility.
Hollis - 27-Nov-17 @ 11:42 AM
I am back in court Monday for 2nd hearing for child arrangement order. Cafcass have done their safeguarding review, it seems they are questioning why I haven't asked to be sgo for the grandchildren, firstly it was social care who advised to go for residence order and secondly, what is the difference ??? I am getting alittle nervous now as court date approaches, the order is uncontested as both parents although not together, agree boys should stay with us, any advice please ??
Curlytop - 23-Nov-17 @ 7:02 PM
Michelle- Your Question:
My Ex husband of nearly 4years who resides in Scotland has had no contact either phone or visitation for almost 4years with his 3 children. They are 14,12 and 8 all of them are worried that one day the courts are going to make them see their dad, could this actually happen ?

Our Response:
The father could of course, apply to the courts for contact. A judge would usually look at all the circumstances and take the older children's views into consideration before reaching a decision.
LawAndParents - 20-Nov-17 @ 3:48 PM
My Ex husband of nearly 4years who resides in Scotland has had no contact either phone or visitation for almost 4years with his 3 children. They are 14,12 and 8 all of them are worried that one day the courts are going to make them see their dad, could this actually happen ?
Michelle - 19-Nov-17 @ 10:13 PM
Unhappy - Your Question:
My ex changed pick up and drop off to suit his work comittments. He use to pick up and drop off from my home, now it’s the School as per Order. Our 6 year old is now unsettled at school and cries. Ex drops him off at supplementary School on his Sunday’s. Our son is ill and has missed School. I need help as he cries and then refuses to go to school. Social services not interested. I need help please.

Our Response:
If the ex is complying with the order, there's not much that you can do. If you feel your child would benefit from a change in the arrangements, speak to the father, let him know how much it's affecting your son's behaviour and see if you can agree to alter the arrangements.
LawAndParents - 10-Nov-17 @ 3:10 PM
My ex husband married me so he could come into the country I only found out after a year of him being in the UK there was also emotional and verbal abuse since I got pregnant with our child and after so I finally decided to ask him to leave our family home which he did he then turned up at my daughter's nursery without my concent then took me to lawyers cause he want our then 18month old daughter to spend alternate weekend with him which I refused due to her age and she's never spent a night away from me which he is aware of so we went to court I have live with order and there is a prohibited steps order in place for him and now he has contact via a contact centre. And he has been offered 2 sessions of community contact for 3hrs starting January via contact centre. What I want to know now is that will any judge Grant his request of over night stay? Am seriously worried of what he might do to her just to get back at me cause he blames her for our separation he has made that comment to me that it because I have her that's why I don't want him and he's told other people that i give her too much attention am seriously worried.
Lish - 10-Nov-17 @ 7:43 AM
My ex changed pick up and drop off to suit his work comittments. He use to pick up and drop off from my home, now it’s the School as per Order. Our 6 year old is now unsettled at school and cries. Ex drops him off at supplementary School on his Sunday’s. Our son is ill and has missed School. I need help as he cries and then refuses to go to school. Social services not interested. I need help please.
Unhappy - 8-Nov-17 @ 8:15 PM
My sons father has a residency order. My son is 9 and stays with me 3-4 nights a week although residency order states only 3. My sons father is fine with this until something comes up which he doesn't like. Usually this is something I question him about. My son will come to my house and tell me his dads wife has put him in his room for full days, her 15 year old daughter has been telling him about periods and blow jobs. So obviously I have questioned this. My son informs me regular that he doesn't want to stay at dad anymore however I feel powerless. My son wasn't taken away from me I let him go to his dads at 18 months old as I was suffering from post natal depression and couldn't cope. I provide for my son take him to his medical appointments take him on family holidays have joined him at football club and swimming lessons all paid for by myself. However when I mention to dad that he doesn't want to live with him he says I only want him so I can claim benefits which is not the case I provide for him as if he is living with me out of my own pocket I do not claim benefits and work full time. When things are okay, my son stays as long as he wishes. When it suits dad we then revert back to the residency order. I want my sons voice to be heard he feels bullied at dads and I feel powerless for him. Any advice please
tasha - 30-Oct-17 @ 10:05 AM
My ex has a residence order and stopped me seeing my children when ever it suited I haven't been able to see my children in 3 years and they have turned my children against me and made them believe it was me not wanting to see them and not because they stopped me My children don't want anything to do with me and I don't know the best way forward
Played - 25-Oct-17 @ 7:18 AM
Thanks to Dr Ekaka. My son has finally be released from the case of social service with the prayer and help of Dr Ekaka, His whatsapp. +447596927164.
Sarah - 24-Oct-17 @ 4:29 PM
Curlytop - Your Question:
My 2 grandchildren have lived with me for 3 months having been put on a child protection plan in August, I am in court Monday to get a residence order, with this (hopefully) in place, can I get the CPP removed as review not due until April 2018 ??

Our Response:
It depends on theterms ofthe Child Protection plan. If the plan includes monitoring their time with you etc, then it's unlikely it will be lifted until the end date. Have a word with the social worker to see what he/she thinks.
LawAndParents - 24-Oct-17 @ 11:40 AM
My 2 grandchildren have lived with me for 3 months having been put on a child protection plan in August, I am in court Monday to get a residence order, with this (hopefully) in place, can I get the CPP removed as review not due until April 2018 ??
Curlytop - 21-Oct-17 @ 6:02 PM
Azz25 - Your Question:
My son who is 3 has been living with me for past 6 months, as it hasn't been convenient for his mum now it is convenient for her can she just keep him or as he's been living with me can I keep him with me ?

Our Response:
You have to come to some agreement between you. If you can't, you may have to consider a mediation service followed by the courts.
LawAndParents - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:22 PM
My son who is 3 has been living with me for past 6 months, as it hasn't been convenient for his mum now it is convenient for her can she just keep him or as he's been living with me can I keep him with me ?
Azz25 - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:15 PM
My husband left a year ago and because of his awful behaviour only one of three girls is having contact with him.In June he put proposals in an email to see her every other weekend and once a week for dinner.I left it to see if he would see it through and unsurprisingly he didn't and last week she came home from a random visit to him saying they've agreed that she'll live with him 50/50.I sent him an email quoting his June proposals and he keeps saying that he will discuss it with my daughter.How can he bypass and undermine me so?I just keep answering 'we'll stick with your proposals of .. June" Any contact with him is devaluing, manipulative and infuriating.I just don't know where to go.
NewStarter - 9-Sep-17 @ 8:54 PM
Debs - Your Question:
My ex husband got residancy on my son when he was 8 he was with his new partner at the time. My ex dumped him back with me when he was 10 and lived with me until last year when at 13 his dad snatched him back he is now back with me after his dad punched him and threw him across the room. Where do I stand and is the residancy order still valid

Our Response:
Residence orders usually last until a child is 16. You may need to contact the courts to make changes. If your son's father is in agreement, this should be relatively straightforward.
LawAndParents - 4-Sep-17 @ 10:49 AM
My ex husband got residancy on my son when he was 8 he was with his new partner at the time. My ex dumped him back with me when he was 10 and lived with me until last year when at 13 his dad snatched him back he is now back with me after his dad punched him and threw him across the room. Where do I stand and is the residancy order still valid
Debs - 28-Aug-17 @ 7:20 PM
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