After a divorce it is rare that parents will agree on matters such as where and with who their children will live with. It is down to the Courts to decide these matters. The courts can make a Child Residence Order. This will be in favour of a single parent so that a child will live with them. This won’t affect the other parents’ parental responsibility.
When a Child Residence Order is formed, the child will have to live with that parent. Yet, a Contact Order will normally be made alongside a Child Residence Order. A contact order will set the times of contact with the other parent. It is possible to have a Shared Residence Order instead which will allow the child to live with both parents by alternating how the time is spent. For example, one week with one parent the next week with the other Ki Residences.
Child Residence Orders don’t just apply to direct parents. It is possible for applications to be made by grandparents or other relatives. However this can only happen after permission from the court has been granted for Parental Responsibility which is not granted to grandparents at the child’s birth, unlike the child’s parents if they are married.
In most cases a child will have a preference as to which parent they will live with. The desires of the child do go into consideration when the Courts are deciding who the child will reside with, especially if the child is old enough to understand the situation around them. However these wishes will not be the deciding factor as it is for the Court and not the child to have the final say as to what is best for the child’s welfare in the long run. This will make the whole process very hard when the child has been alienated towards a parent.
What is Child Alienation?
At the end of a divorce the separated couple have hostile feelings towards each other. Blame for simple things can result in negativity instead of remembering the good times and the times when marriage started. These kinds of feelings towards each other which will eventually affect the well-being of the children involved as they start to rub off on them.
The vast majority of the time these kinds of hostile attitudes toward each other from one parent can result in one parent turning their child against the other parent in order to acquire an ally against them, or even the other parents family. This is a horrible situation for the alienated parent and the child. The absent parent is alienated and disliked by the child. The alienated parent will receive negativity and be blamed for the divorce making the child dislike them further. This is known as parental alienation syndrome. It is very hard to deal with, not to mention very harmful to the child involved. All children deserve two parental figures.
A parent who has a Child Residence Order in place is responsible for the daily decisions about the child’s upbringing. This will happen without any interference from the other parent according to the Residence Order in place. The decisions will be about how the household will function or routine of the child’s everyday life. If the other parent has Parental Responsibility, then they have a say in the major decisions of the child’s life. Such as how they will be raised, which school they will attend and what medical care they will receive.
If the parents are willing to agree on Residence then there should not be a Residence order in place. This is due to the ‘no order’ paragraphs within the Children Act which clearly states that no Order will be made regarding a child unless it is essential to improve a child’s welfare in cases such as residence and contact with both parents.