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Is a residence order the answer?

(2 Posts)
Soapbox81 Mon 13-Jul-15 16:06:32

Hello all

My partner and I seperated 2 and a half years ago. We have children together at at the point of divorce we agreed that they should live with her as primary carer but that the time should be split evenly between us (3.5 nights a week each).

The problem is that my ex wife has problems with her mental health and when she's bad she's unable to look after the kids properly (they go uncollected from school, she isn't able to feed them properly and so on).

In the past, this has meant that I've had to step in at the last minute which has meant letting people down in my life, especially work who have been understanding up to this point but there's only so long i can keep running out the office with zero notice and not always the holiday to cover.

My ex and I have spoken about the kids living with me full time and seeing her as the secondary parent. This would mean I'm able to make plans for the kids that would allow for their mum being unreliable.

The problem is, we've been here twice in the past. We've agreed that I should be primary carer, I've gone through all the hoops needed to move them in for her to turn up on the doorstep the same night and demand them back, threatening police, social services and everything else she could throw at me.

I know that it's very unlikely that these threats would come to much but it would make life very unpleasent for my kids and I'd much rather avoid it. As an additional complication, my eldest was my step son and i don't have parental responsibility. Whatever else happens i don't want to split him up from his brother and sister.

I was thinking that maybe a residency order might be the way to go. If it were written into law, that might be enough to grant me primary custody without the possibility of my ex changing her mind at the 11th hour but I'm not sure if the court would consider my application.

Also, does anyone know if the residence order is uncontested, will mediation still be required? I've tried to get her to go to mediation twice in the past and went to my session but she didn't turn up to hers. The last one was around 12 months ago.

Any advice or someone who's been through similar that could tell me what worked for them?

Thanking you all in advice


Bellemere Mon 13-Jul-15 19:53:12

You would need to attend mediation. There is no such thing as a residence order anymore, it's a Child Arrangements Order. There's no such thing as an uncontested order for who the children should live with. If it's uncontested, you don't need an order.

What is the current arrangement? If you were the primary carer, how would that fit around work? What if she was unable to cope when it was her contact day and you still had to leave work at short notice?

You would struggle with getting an order for your stepson to live with you, I think. What would his father think?

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