It is not uncommon for Parents to disagree on where their child will live after they have separated. If they are unable to disagree then it is for a Divorce Court to make the decision. This is known as a Residence Order. Residence Orders are made in favour of one or another of the parents, who will become the Resident Parent. Residnece Orders do not affect the parental responsibility of either parent.
When the Order is made, a contact order will usually be made alongside it. This will say when the child will see the non-residence parent. Shared residence can also be granted which will allow the child to spend time with both parents. These times and the duration of the visits will be specified in the order.
A child’s opinion on where they want to live will be taken into consideration of the court. Especially if that child is mature enough (normally if they are a teenager) to have a understanding of the situation going on around them. However, what the child wants will not be the final decision. This is because it is very possible for parents to turn their children on the other parent, or for parents to sway a child’s emotions with gifts. It is for the court to decide what is in the child’s best interest.
What does having a Residence Order mean?
When a parent has been granted a residence order then they must do certain things to ensure the welfare and upbringing of the child:
· Make the day to day decisions.
· Provide food
· Ensure they attend school
· How will the household function
· The child’s daily routine.
The non-resident parent should not interfere with the decisions of the resident parent. However, major decisions need the consideration of all those with parental responsibility. These are some examples of major decisions:
· What medical treatment will be given?
· What school will they attend?
· Will they follow a religion?
If parents are able to agree on Residence, then a Residence order will not be made. This is because the courts will always try to avoid making an order. This is due to the “No Order” principle that is part of the Children Act. This says that no order should be made about a child unless it will improve the child’s welfare. This means it is not necessary to include residence agreements during Divorce proceedings.