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Understanding Residence Orders

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 18 Sep 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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Emma - Your Question:
If one parent is awarded full residency, does that take away the parental rights of the other parent? Can the parent with full residency change the child's name by deed poll if he/she remarries or emigrate without other parents consent

Our Response:
No, just because a parent has full or majority care of the child does not mean the other parent loses parental responsibility. The other parent will still have a say in important issues such as name changes, moving home/school etc.
LawAndParents - 18-Sep-18 @ 3:25 PM
My 8 year old son lives full time with his father in Yorkshire and I live in my home town of Manchester. He stole him in 2012 and was awarded custody in 2014 because at the time my son was deemed as settled. I tried to argue my case and inform them he was abusive and a drug dealer but no one listened. But now 5 years later he is facing a prison sentence because he was caught selling class a drugs. He doesn’t have a stable home and has jumped from relationship to relationship over the years my son grows a bond with these women and children and then never sees them again. He had a second son who he doesn’t bother to see and has just had his third and broke up with the mother to that child. He doesn’t care how all of this will affect our son but he wants my son to live with his aunty while he is in prison and I want him to return back home to my care. Now I am currently under a supervision order for my youngest son who lives with me but everything is going good for me and this should end may next year I have a stable home I have lived in for 10 years my son has a bedroom and is familiar with this home as it is a second home to him what can I do to prove he would thrive better in my care?
Sezy - 18-Sep-18 @ 10:45 AM
If one parent is awarded full residency, does that take away the parental rights of the other parent?Can the parent with full residency change the child's name by deed poll if he/she remarries or emigrate without other parents consent
Emma - 18-Sep-18 @ 7:24 AM
Hi,I’m married to my partner who got residence order for kids and both kids live with us nearly 4 years now, did this residence order grant me step parent parental Responsibility or do I still need any signed official documents from their birth mother, we haven’t got much contact as been advised not to by solicitor, it will be impossible to get anything to sign from her, thank you.
Chris - 15-Sep-18 @ 8:06 AM
radmc - Your Question:
I have been separated from my daughter’s father for nine years. We have an informal 50/50 care agreement. I want to relocate from London to Northern Ireland. What kind of order do I need to apply for if he doesn’t agree?

Our Response:
If the father doesn't agree he can apply for a prohibited steps order. The judge will look carefully at the circumstances and decide in the best interests of the child (not the parents)
LawAndParents - 12-Sep-18 @ 10:27 AM
I have been separated from my daughter’s father for nine years. We have an informal 50/50 care agreement. I want to relocate from London to Northern Ireland. What kind of order do I need to apply for if he doesn’t agree?
radmc - 11-Sep-18 @ 7:16 AM
Separated from the children s father I have a residency order court hearing soon... can i apply for the children passports once I have the order and not put the fathers details down on the forms??
Kez - 5-Sep-18 @ 6:55 PM
Kim - Your Question:
Hi, I have residential orders on my 2 niece's, one is 13yrs i've had her since she was 2yrs and the other is 7yrs i've had her since she was 12 hours old, my sister has had nothing to do with either child since the youngest was 8mths old and i've no idea who is either childs father, would I be able to apply for passports for them?? Many thanks kim

Our Response:
You should be able to apply for passports. The Passport officer will tell you whether you need permission/details of the mother etc.
LawAndParents - 22-Aug-18 @ 2:18 PM
Hi, i have residential orders on my 2 niece's, one is 13yrs i've had her since she was 2yrs and the other is 7yrs i've had her since she was 12 hours old, my sister has had nothing to do with either child since the youngest was 8mths old and i've no idea who is either childs father,would i be able to apply for passports for them?? Many thanks kim
Kim - 19-Aug-18 @ 11:14 AM
HiI have a very close bond with my 13yr old Great grandson.He stays with me for long periods off time .The longest being 6 mths.His father has residence order The child does not want to live with his dad anymore but with me What can i do as he is so un happy at home. Hes aware that the care i give him is better than at home.One min the father says he can live me me then the next No hes coming back .Can you five me some advice for my very unhappy Granson
Joan - 28-Jul-18 @ 2:15 PM
Kit - Your Question:
I have a court order showing my son lives with me (he stays with his father every Tuesday evening and every other weekend), I want to take him abroad next year with my fiancé, his son and our baby but my ex husband is always awkward, do I need to ask my ex permission or do I say we are going on holiday from whatever date to whatever date? As the court order does say I can take him out of the country for up to a month, does that mean even without his consent? Thank you

Our Response:
You can take a child abroad for 28 days without getting permission if a child arrangement order says the child must live with you, unless a court order says you can’t.
LawAndParents - 27-Jul-18 @ 11:45 AM
I have a court order showing my son lives with me (he stays with his father every Tuesday evening and every other weekend), I want to take him abroad next year with my fiancé, his son and our baby but my ex husband is always awkward, do i need to ask my ex permission or do I say we are going on holiday from whatever date to whatever date? As the court order does say I can take him out of the country for up to a month, does that mean even without his consent? Thank you
Kit - 26-Jul-18 @ 10:14 AM
Stacey - Your Question:
Hi a few year ago a residancy order was put in place with my son so his dad couldnt just take him anymore does this still stand as he has my son and is refusing to give him bk

Our Response:
A residency order usually lasts until a child is 16.
LawAndParents - 24-Jul-18 @ 3:42 PM
Hi a few year ago a residancy order was put in place with my son so his dad couldnt just take him anymore does this still stand as he has my son and is refusing to give him bk
Stacey - 24-Jul-18 @ 12:22 PM
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
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