A residence order is made under s 8 of the Children Act 1989 and settles the child’s living arrangements. (This was formerly known as “Care and control”). A residence order does not have any effect on the parental responsibility of either parent (except for a non-parent who previously had a residence order in their favour). It simply settles the child’s living arrangements.
More than one person can be granted a residence order and these are called ‘Joint residence orders’. A joint residence order simply means that a residence order is made in favour of both parents. In these circumstances, the court will determine how much time the child will spend with each parent. It does not automatically mean spending equal time with each parent. Joint residence orders have become more common in recent years. A joint residence order is instead of a residence order being made in favour of one parent and a contact order being made in favour of the other. In practical terms, a joint residence order is easier to put into effect when the parents live relatively close to each other although distance itself is not an automatic bar to a joint residence order being made.