Some parents find the transition from married parenting to co-parenting as single partners quite easy. Other parents are not so lucky. In an arena where hurt feelings and a sense of betrayal are quite common, communicating about the children can be filled with heartache, anger, a lack of trust, and other emotions that sometimes come out in ways that are less than productive.
However, regardless of where parents are in their emotional divorce processing, there are some tools available that help parents put their kids first. In an age where almost everyone has a cell phone, handling family matters after a divorce can be as simple as the touch of a button. There are several apps designed to make family life easier for co-parenting adults. Of course, apps only work if you use them. Consequently, it is a good idea to explore the individual features of each app to find one that both you and your ex can use with ease. This may take a bit of time, and require additional discussions. However, if, at the end of the day, any of the apps put the children in a better position, the investment is well worth it.
Note: These are not the only co-parenting apps available. The purpose of this post is not to endorse one app over another. Rather, it is to simply call to parents’ attention the availability of, and the helpful features of, some of the apps out there designed for parents who no longer live together, to help them keep the children’s needs at the forefront.
Co-Parenting Apps: AppClose
One of the benefits of AppClose is that it is free. Features include calendar sharing, messaging options, a way to track expenses and a way to store documents. Of particular note, the messaging feature includes a “time read confirmation,” to provide information on when a person actually read the text message sent. It also allows one to search conversations, and export whole conversations if need be.
AppClose, like many other co-parenting apps, has a section that allows one parent to submit a request to the other parent. One can use the feature to request a change in the parenting time schedule, request reimbursement for medical or other expenses, and offers payment through a third party provider right in the app. Expenses can also be tracked within the app and converted to reimbursement requests. Finally, AppClose has a feature that allows parents to store important information such as school contacts, immunization records, and alternate child care options.
Co-Parenting Apps: Fayr
Fayr was developed by a divorced dad, with an eye towards helping his own family. It keeps track of expenses, scheduling, communication, and geo pinpointing. Like other apps, Fayr offers a time-sharing calendar that allows both parents to add special events, as well as exchange parenting days. Fayr offers a messaging app to allow parents to communicate. It has a way to track expenses, including allowing parents to upload images and receipts to document expenses. For those who need it, the app offers a geolocation log which allows parents to check in to document their presence at a given GPS location, including precise date and time of log in.
Fayr also offers user feedback. It provides monthly reports about parental use of the app, including message response times.
Co-Parenting Apps: Coparently
Coparently offers a color-coded child custody calendar, messaging apps, and expense tracking. A shared directory provides contact information on all the people important in a child’s life, from the pediatrician to both grandmas to the phone numbers of favored babysitters. This app also has a feature that allows the children access to the custody calendar. Thus, children can access their parenting time schedule at a moment’s notice. However, the children have limited access and do not have access to parent messages, expenses, etc.
Co-Parenting Apps: 2Houses
2Houses also has a color-coded calendar to track parenting time. They offer an autofill feature for traditional custody arrangements such as 3-3-4-4, 2-2-5-5, and 2-2-3. However, the calendar can also be customized if parents prefer. In addition to allowing parents to request schedule changes through the app, 2Houses provides the other parent the option to accept or offer an alternative schedule change proposal. The financial management system keeps a running balance of who needs to pay what and to whom. An online journal provides a place to track important information. 2Houses also offers a place to store medical records, social security numbers, contact info for people important in the child’s life, and other important information.
Co-Parenting Apps: Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard also offers a calendar which can be used by both parents. It maintains a history of changes for easy reference. Parents can make requests to trade parenting time days through the app. The app documents these requests, and the response times. Our Family Wizard also features a message board with an added feature. Our Family Wizard claims their text messaging app prevents others from editing, deleting, or retracting messages. Additionally, Our Family Wizard offers “Tone Meter” ™, which helps parents identify emotionally charged sentences. This allows parents to adjust their tone before sending messages to the other parent. This app also features an expense log, reimbursement requests, a way to receive and send payments, and store emergency contacts.
Parenting is hard. Co-parenting can also be hard. But it doesn’t have to be a constant challenge. At Fait & DiLima, we work with our clients to establish co-parenting schedules that are in the best interests of the family. Even couples who have amicable divorces can have miscommunications. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact their relationship with each other or negatively impact their kids. Co-parenting apps are just one of many ways that miscommunication can be reduced.
If you are considering divorce, contact the attorneys at Fait & DiLima. We offer comprehensive divorce and family law services. Call today to schedule a consultation at (301) 251-0100. We maintain offices in Frederick and Rockville to serve you.