Shared Residence Order

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The definition ‘residence order’ was removed in April 2014 from the Children Act 1989 and replaced with the Child Arrangements Order (CAO).

The Child Arrangements Order settles:

  • with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with, and
  • when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person

The phrase ‘is to live’ is equivalent to a residence order. The definition ‘spend time’ is the equivalent of a contact order. So it is important when you are in front of the Judge or negotiating with the other parent to understand what the new terminology means.

A shared residence order is made in favour of two people, often parents who do not live with each other. It is an order that requires a child to spend a certain amount of time with one person and a certain amount of time with another person. Some within family law circles suggest that a shared residence order occurs when each parent sees a child between 30 percent and 70 percent of the time but the reality is that shared residence orders can be made when the parents are in different jurisdictions. It is also used as a reinforcement or emphasis when appropriate, of the statement to the parents that both parents are of equal importance to the child and there is an equality of their position and responsibilities, although the division of time may not be equal. A shared residence order recognises that the children have a home with both parents.