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Welcome to series 2 of our Bitesize Children’s Law Blog: Jargon Buster.

If you have separated from your partner, or the mother or father of your child, our Bitesize Blog will help you get to grips with the legal jargon and in turn help you understand better the legal process you are going through.

Here we will explain, in plain language, the kind of terms you may come across as you and your partner resolve how to parent your child separately, whether this is through solicitors or with the help of the Court.


Residence is the term used to refer to where the children will live when a relationship has broken down.
If the children live with one parent, that parent is known as the ‘resident parent’.

If the children live with each parent an equal amount of time in the week, this is known as ‘joint residence’ or ‘shared residence’.

Either parent can make an application to the Court for a ‘Residence Order’. A Residence Order will set out the living arrangements for the children until they reach the age of 16.

The Court will be reluctant to change the children’s place of residence if this arrangement has been in place for sometime, and will only do so in exceptional circumstances.