What is a Live With Order?

Request a call from a family law solicitor


Ending a marriage or civil partnership is rarely easy and can be a particularly difficult process for those involved, including the couple, any children and the wider family. Deciding where a child should live and spend time can sometimes cause issues if both of the child’s parents cannot agree on mutual terms.

If the parents involved cannot agree on where the child should live and with which parent the child should live, you may apply to the court for a ‘Live with’ Order so that the court can decide on those issues. If you find it difficult to reach a decision on your children’s living arrangements, our team of expert solicitors are ready to offer the guidance and legal support necessary; please get in touch with us today.

What is a live with order?

This court order determines the primary residence of a child and specifies who the child will live with. The designated carer holds the authority to make day-to-day decisions and assumes parental responsibility for a child throughout the duration of the order.

The parent who the child lives with for most of the time is called the resident parent and the other parent is called the non-resident parent. The court will always put the child’s welfare first when making a decision on a live with order.

However, certain restrictions exist on the exercise of this parental responsibility. For instance, the carer is not permitted to alter the child’s surname or take the child abroad for more than one month without obtaining consent from others sharing parental responsibility.

Married and Unmarried parents

It is preferable for parents to reach a mutual agreement on the child’s living arrangements. In cases where an unmarried father lacks Parental Responsibility, obtaining it is recommended.

In situations where married parents have divorced, they might have completed a Statement of Arrangements outlining residence and contact plans for the child. It is crucial to note that the Statement of Arrangements is not legally binding or enforceable in family court. Parents can opt to modify the living arrangements, as it serves as evidence of their intentions.

The marital status of the parents does not impact the decision on the child’s residence. However, it may influence whether the father has Parental Responsibility.

What is a Child Arrangement Order?

A court-issued Child Arrangement Order specifies the living and contact plans for a child or children, replacing the previous Residence and Child Contact Orders. The court can mandate shared residence under a Child Arrangement Order, outlining specific periods for the child to spend time with each parent.

The Child Arrangements Order remains in effect until the child turns 18. However, seeking an order for a child aged 16-18 requires exceptional circumstances. Step-parents can also apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order once they are divorced from the natural parent.

If a Residence Order was granted before 22/04/2014 or if a person is named as having residence in a Child Arrangement Order, Parental Responsibility is automatically given to that person. This responsibility ceases when the order concludes. Child Arrangement Orders are governed by section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

If there have been allegations of domestic abuse, the court must determine that it is both in the best interests of the child and that the other parent would not be exposed to a further risk of harm before making a Child Arrangement Order.

If you are looking to apply for a Child Arrangement Order, our panel of solicitors can provide the guidance needed during the application process.

How can Expert Family Law help?

When disputes arise between parents, it can be helpful to have someone outside of the relationship to help you navigate through the conflict and provide you with the best advice on moving forward, keeping the needs of your children at the forefront.

We understand that disputes involving children and their care can be incredibly complex and sensitive. The solicitors on our panel can provide you with the best legal advice and assistance on resolving child arrangement disputes and obtaining Live With Orders from the Court.

As well as assisting with child arrangements, our panel of family law solicitors can also advise and help on the process of divorce and the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief).

We ensure that the family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist with your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a child arrangement solicitor from our panel could help on your case.


Divorce Proceedings

Ancillary Relief

Domestic Abuse

Child arrangements

Expert Family Law

Keep up to date with the latest family law news