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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34902
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Hi; I am currently negotiating for custody of my son with

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I am currently negotiating for custody of my son with my ex girlfriend (and her solicitor). I have applied tot he court for a shared residence order to define each of our days/times caring for our son. We are fairly close to agreeing a weekly routine that we are both happy with, however even if we are both happy with the proposed arrangemnt in every way, they have categorically said that they will not consider formalising the agreement under a shared residence order under any circumstances, and will only agree (exactly the same arrangement) if it is under a contact order.

I don;t much care what our agreement is called, although i think there are many positive benefits to the implications of commitment to the child of the title of shared residence.

My question is - what are the specific legal differences between the two types of care (shared residence / contact order), what can and can't i do under one but not the other. for example i believe that (please confirm) that with a contact order i couldn't take him abroad on holiday, however with a shared residence i could.

I don't feel the title of the arrangement is important, and will concede to a contact arrangement if it progresses and completes our negoitations and means we both get good quality time with our child, however i need to know under what condition i may be disadvantaging myself for things i/she may wish to do in the future.

Would a shared residence make any difference to her moving to a far away part of the country for example?

please advise if possible;

Thank you for your question.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you
You are correct - for the most part essentially it is simply a matter of wording and little else
The only difference is that she could take the child out of the Uk during the time that the child is in her care for up to 28 days - whilst you would need either her consent or an Order from the Court to do so.
Might I suggest that you either ask for both parties to Undertake not to take the child abroad without the agreement of the other - or a specific statement that you may do so during your time if you so wish
What ever it is called she can only move away of she can maintain the existing "contact" arrangements
The other point is that the Police can enforce the return of the Child to her - but not your contact time
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

so with contact, i'd need her permission to take him abroad - but with shared residence i wouldn't.

but if i had contact, for say fri-mon weekly, and she took him away for 2 weeks without needing my permission she would still be interfering with the dates of the contact, presumably she couldn;t do this? (though i imagine it enforcable only back in court) so unless she wants very short holidays, she can;t practically take him away anyway surely?

also, you say the police can enforce return of the child to her if i have contact, but if we have shared residence can i get them to enforce that he comes to me if she refuses on collection? (i cant see thats how id procede anyway, but just to be sure)

and you said "What ever it is called she can only move away of [if] she can maintain the existing "contact" arrangements" - so this means if again i had fri-mon every week, she couldn;t just move 200 miles away so i couldn;t continue either contact. this is the same for residence?

thanks for the help,


Hi Richard
You are indeed correct - she can only take him abroad within the time the child is meant to be with her
and she cannot move away unless she can maintain the existing contact arrangements - mostly at her expense
The Police would almost certainly opt out of helping either of you if there was a shared residence order - but are more likely to intervene if they can see that Mum has Residence
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you