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What is a residence order?

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.

What is 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.
Can I take the child on holiday under a residence order?

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.

Does a residence order grant parental responsibility?

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.