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Understanding Residence Orders

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 21 Jul 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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I have been maintaining my daughter for 2 and a half years and her mother won't put my name on the birth certificate.... she keeps making excuses.... and saying it's only a bit of paper I have cut the maintenance money down and she is furious that I give her less eventhough she receives the full amount from government benefits for my daughter.... we don't get along hence why we are not together... she even uses our arguments and says that's the reason she doesn't put my name on ... I need help in what to do ....
Clay - 21-Jul-18 @ 3:23 PM
I got married a man from abroad and got pregnant, soon as he got in the UK he changed. he walked out when she was 4 weeks old. After 5 months he did not return, and when i terminated my spouse sponsor, immigration asked him to leave, unless he is fighting for access for his daughter. So he put in a court order to see he daughter, where the courts have order supervised contacts. however they have affect my daughter as she is forced to be left in a room with her father she has not idea about. My daughter is 4 now and this has been going on for 4years. Father has now put in a residency order to have his daughter fully, whilst the fact remains he has never had any contact with her. What is the likely chance of him taking away my daughter, to some where she knows no-one to a completely different region away from her family of 4 years. what can i do?
Sally - 12-Jul-18 @ 9:17 PM
Ljm - Your Question:
My mother-in-law has her niece due to her mam abandoning her and her dad in prison. She has a residence order and she is allowing her to call her Mammy and her 29yo husband, daddy. Is this allowed? She also has a sister which is with her nana and she is getting confused as to why she is calling their aunty, Mammy. Need some advice please. Thanks.

Our Response:
There are no specific laws relating to this, it's something that should be discussed among the family, possibly with advice from a professional such as a child pyschologist or social worker.
LawAndParents - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:32 PM
My mother-in-law has her niece due to her mam abandoning her and her dad in prison. She has a residence order and she is allowing her to call her Mammy and her 29yo husband, daddy. Is this allowed? She also has a sister which is with her nana and she is getting confused as to why she is calling their aunty, Mammy. Need some advice please. Thanks.
Ljm - 2-Jul-18 @ 1:40 PM
I have had a residency order for my grandson for 12 years his father is now saying he is going to take me to court for custody, as his 13 year old son has been getting into some trouble at school and is now saying that I'm unfit to look after him would I have to pay for a solicitor too,
Shelly - 25-Jun-18 @ 10:37 PM
Del - Your Question:
My ex has a court order for full residence.My child is now 13 years old and wants to come back home and live with me and her other siblings ! Will I have to go back to court to make this happen or my daughter just refused to go back even if he rings the police to come get her ?

Our Response:
If a court order is in place you will have to go back to the courts to get this changed/amended, especially if the other parent does not consent to the change.
LawAndParents - 22-Jun-18 @ 3:11 PM
My ex has acourt order forfull residence . My child is now 13 years old and wants to come back home and live with me and her other siblings ! Will i have to go back to court to make this happen or my daughterjust refused to go back even if he rings the police to come get her?
Del - 21-Jun-18 @ 9:22 PM
I have a residency order and parental control of my 4 kids from 2013. Me and my wife got back together in 2014. We have recently split up (2018) and is not letting me see my children. What can I legally do without going through the courts again and if I was to pick them up from school and take them, could she just pick them up from school at any time? I've got my young children crying down the phone wanting to see me and she just say no. Thanks for your help.
Sherlock - 19-Jun-18 @ 8:20 PM
Hello, We recently (3 weeks ago) we awarded an interim residency order as my husband's ex had bipolar disorder, tried to commit suicide with the children in the house and has basically been on social services radar for years after multiple concerns raised from multiple parties. This is the third weekend that she has had the child and she is now refusing to return her. She lives with us, we have a routine, she attends the local school etc. but she is having an 'episode' and thinks her child is safer with her. Her concerns are made up (she was sectioned after the suicide attempt and we cared for her baby for 3 weeks while she was recovering, she knows we are good parents) and she knows she will be in breach of the order. The police will not get involved. Social services have said until she breaks the order nothing can be done. She has said we will have to go to court to get the child back even though she agreed in front of a panel of judges that she was not fit to parent and the child was better with us. Does ANYONE have any advice please? I suspect she will not take the child to school tomorrow as she knows we will then remove her so she cannot take her again. We are waiting until 5pm (today) and then the police have said we need to go the house and again ask that she sticks to the order and lets the child return with us. She has already categorically stated that she will not let her leave. In fact based on her past behaviour she will ring the police and say that she is being threatened (she has done this 10+ times with no grounds). Sorry it's so long, I appreciate it is difficult but if anyone can help it would really help. Thanks in advance
Snoopy2018 - 13-May-18 @ 3:45 PM
My partners son has lived with us for 3 months due to moms drinking and domestic violence social services are involved and have arranged supervised visits for mom can we get a residence order as mom keeps threatening to take him back to Live with her
Bex78 - 4-May-18 @ 7:57 AM
After I split up with my ex our soon lived with me. A year and a half later he's threatening to not bring our son back home saying he has the same rights and want him to live at his. Even though we agreed I will be the full time parent, can I still apply for residential order?
Livvy - 1-May-18 @ 10:31 AM
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
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