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A residence order is an order which states where a child should live (it has historically been referred to as custody). When parents separate and there is a dispute about where children should live, the court decides this and will take into account the child’s welfare.
This is a list of areas which the court will consider:-
- the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding);
- the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
- the likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances;
- the child’s age, sex, background, and any relevant characteristic;
- any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
- how capable each of the parents and any other relevant person is of meeting the child’s needs;
- the range of powers available to the court.
The person to whom a residence order has been made in their favour can take the child outside England and Wales for up to a month at a time without need of any other persons who have parental responsibility or the court.
Residence orders also enable a person to have parental responsibility. The parental responsibility granted under a residence order is the same as all other individuals who already hold it.