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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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Can a child apply to the court to change a residence order

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Can a child apply to the court to change a residence order himself without the parent with which he currently resides knowing?
Hi, thanks for your question. The child is not able to apply for a change of the current order and in any event, if anyone pursues such an application anyone who has parental responsibility, which includes the parent with a residence order, must be given notice of the application. How old is the child and what are the issues?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The child is 13, approaching 14. He lived with my from my separation with his father 10 years ago. In 2010 we relocated to Cheshire from Leeds, which our son was happy to do. Since then he has been placed under immense pressure from his father to move back to Leeds to live with him. In February last year I agreed to this at court as our lives were just intolerable with all that his father was doing. I have since heard that our son believes he has made a mistake and misses us too much but feels that too many people got involved with matters and he doesn't know how to get out of t. He is there purely because of his Dad's feelings not those of his own. Should an application be made to the courts he would be subjected to immense pressure, hence me asking if a direct application could be made by him to the judge (who reserved the matter to himself)
Thanks for the further information. It would be for you to make an application for a child arrangement order for him to live with you, under form C100 and a £215 court fee, based on what has happened since his change of residence last year. The allocated CAFCASS officer will make the usual enquiries, and given your son's age, his views, wishes and feelings will be taken into account. The judge can also meet with your son and speak to him directly regarding his views. I see you have said that your son will be subjected to immense pressure if an application is made, but the CAFCASS officer's are trained to ascertain whether wishes and feelings expressed by children are their own or due to coercion. Please provide a positive rating if you found this information helpful. I will not be credited with answering this question without a positive rating. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Cafcass were involved last time and raised all manner of concerns regarding Dad but still proposedour son move back to Leeds due to what he said. Our son has since he moved to Leeds admitted to ourselves, and a psychologist that he saw previously, that all the evidence that his Dad submitted was fabricated and/or written by Dad or at his request. I don't think he is strong enough to stand up to him hence us wondering if at his age he could apply direct (which I thought he could) and request a private meeting with the judge prior to other parties being made aware?
Given that your son has now moved to live with you, you will need to pursue an application for a child arrangement order for him to live with you. The father has a court order for your son to live with him, and he can enforce this. The meeting with the judge can be requested once you commence the court application.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't think that our son would be brave enough to do this. I do think he would be brave enough to ask the judge to swap the order back if he thought he could do this without the pressure he knows he would be subjected to if I put in an application. I find it hard to accept that they made a decision based on the voice of a 12 year old last year yet he cannot make his own voice heard now he has lived that life for a year. Thanks for you help with this matter though.
Just to be clear - his views, wishes and feeling will be taken into account once you pursue an application to court. This will be through the CAFCASS officer, and if requested directly to the judge.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand that but in the interim period he would have to live under the same roof as his father with him knowing that the matter was back in the court arena and I don't think our son could cope with that. Nor can I go through the whole process again, I have 3 other children to care for and they are still suffering as a result of loosing their big brother.
Legally, yes - as the order is for the child to live with him. But you are entitled to make an urgent application for the change of arrangements. Has the father requested for him to return to his care?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm confused now. He lived with me for 9 years. Last year he moved to live with his Dad which is where he currently lives. He has told his best friend that he thinks this has been a mistake and he misses us all desperately and is only in Leeds due to his Dad's wishes and feelings. I wanted to know if there was an easy way our son could apply to have the order reversed without being subjected to pressure from his Dad. We've had 9 years of court battles (almost annually) and Sam has permanently been thrown into the middle and made to choose. He has lived with me and now his Dad for a year so I wanted to show him a very simple, conflict free way of making his informed choice without any finger pointing, accusations or pressure from either parent but it doesn't seem that this will be a possibility from what you are saying? He was assigned a solicitor & CAFCASS officer last year, I wondered if they were free for him to contact himself?
The solicitor and CAFCASS officer will no longer be involved as it appears a child arrangement order (previously known as contact or residence orders) has now been made and the court case has concluded. Did he move to his father's under a court order? As this is what your initial post stated. I appreciate that he was living with you prior to this, but the order last year would have superseded the previous arrangements and this is what is in place now, and until a further court order is made. What provision did the order make for your son to spend time with you, and does it state he is to "live" with you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Apologies. It is a child arrangement order that states he lives with after term time and lives with me alternate weekends, and had the school holidays.
Thanks - as long as it states that he is to live with you both, then you have a shared residence order. The issue now is for him to move to live with you during term time (ie. reversal of the current arrangements). Obviously this involves more practical issues such as change of schools etc given the distance between your location and the father's and the court will need to assess if this is in your son's best interest. The child still has a right to a relationship with the father, and the CAFCASS officer will assess whether this is in your son's best interest for arrangements to remain in place for him to live with the father or spend time with him, based on the CAFCASS officer's investigations and speaking with your son regarding his wishes and feelings.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes it's a shared residence and yes your understanding is absolutely correct. The high school he left her last year said they get this a lot and the majority of the time the child returns after 6-12 months so I am sure it is not uncommon, the grass is always greener isn't it. I have never tried to deny his Dad a relationship with our son and this has always been acknowledged by CAFCASS, I just never agreed that our son was unhappy or in the wrong place living with us. Ultimately though we would have to go through the entire process again though wouldn't we.
Yes, I am afraid you would have to go through the court process again.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How very sad.
I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Harris, I appreciate that.