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3.95It is an automatic condition of all residence orders that the child’s surname should not be changed without either the written consent of each person with parental responsibility or the leave of the court.398  The English Law Commission took the view that the child’s surname is an important symbol of his identity and his relationship with his parents.  It is clearly not a matter on which the parent with whom he lives should be able to take unilateral action.399  It is not necessary to obtain the child’s consent to the change of his surname though the child may apply for a prohibited steps order or specific issue order to prevent the change.

Removal from jurisdiction

3.96It is also an automatic condition of all residence orders that the child should not be removed from the United Kingdom for longer than one month without the written consent of any person with parental responsibility or the leave of the court.400  Taking the child abroad for long periods can affect his relationship with the other parent.

3.97The person in whose favour a residence order is made may remove the child for a period of less than one month.  This is intended to allow him to make arrangements for holidays without having to seek the permission of the non-residential parent and without having to give notice.  Although there is no limit on the number of temporary removals, the non-residential parent who worries that the child might be removed permanently may seek a prohibited steps order or ask the court to attach conditions to the residence order.

Unmarried father

3.98An unmarried father can apply for a residence order in respect of his child.  If his application is successful and he does not then have parental responsibility by agreement or court order, the court must also make a separate parental responsibility order.401  The rationale is that it would be wrong to deny him the full range of parental responsibilities if he is allowed to live with the child.  The court may bring the parental responsibility order to an end only after the residence order is no longer in force.402

Contact order

3.99A contact order “means an order requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order, or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with each other”.403  Whereas the former access order is adult-centred, permitting another person to visit the child, a contact order was child-centred, requiring the person with whom the child lives to allow contact.  Contact orders usually permit reasonable contact but may

398 Section 13(1).

399 Law Com No 172, paragraph 4.14.

400 Section 13(1)(2).

401 Section 12(1)(3).  The same principle applies to an applicant who is not the parent or guardian of the child: section 12(2).

402 Section 12(4).

403 Section 8(1).

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