It is estimated that 40% to 50% of US married couples will divorce. Many of those couples have children together and need to continue co-parenting after they have separated. Luckily, modern technology is addressing the most common issues facing parents who divorce with children.
Here are four popular options, some of the features they offer, and the costs you may incur.
Talking Parents: https://talkingparents.com/
Who should use this: Talking Parents is a comprehensive app that is especially appropriate for parents who do not get along. You can choose a free desktop version but consider the paid mobile version if you need to access the app from your car or away from home.
Available features: The app provides a shared calendar, unalterable records that verify when an event or message is posted, when the other parent sees the post, and when a post is modified. You can set sound notifications to let you know when the other parent has posted something new. There’s also file storage and the ability to share files. If you need to create pdf documents for your attorney to use in court, or record phone calls and create a transcript, you can pay extra for those features.
Cost: The basic version is free but you can buy additional features a la carte. The premium version costs $19.99/month while the standard plan is $5.99/month. The two paid plans offer a 30-day free trial.
Our Family Wizard (OFW) https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/
Who should use this: This app is great for parents who struggle to communicate or keep track of scheduling. Both parents do not need to buy or use this app. If your messages become hostile, OFW offers a special feature to help keep things civil.
Available features: This app provides one safe place to keep all family-related information including parenting schedules, proof of expenses, and vital communications. The unique “Tone Meter” reviews your messages and tells you when the tone of your message is hostile and offers alternative language so you can edit your communication and possibly avoid problems and future court embarrassment.
Child support and other payments can be transferred securely and documented through an expense log, and basic options such as a calendar, journal, and message board help keep the children out of the middle.
Cost: This app starts at $99 per year per parent and offers flexible a la carte pricing for additional benefits. The Tone Meter feature costs $10 more per year and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee
Who should use this: For parents who could use a professional’s assistance in resolving parenting issues, the CoParenter app offers a “Get Help” feature where you can reach out to a trained co-parenting professional who can help you resolve difficult situations through one-on-one coaching. This feature uses credits that come with the app each month, but you can purchase more credits if needed.
Also, parents who often face financial disputes can use this app to keep track of payment requests, amounts, due dates, and proof of payment. Contentious child exchanges can also be monitored here.
Available features: The live coaching support network is unique to this app. Secure messaging and scheduling ensures one parent cannot edit an entry that is time-stamped. This app also includes a feature that suggests neutral language for messaging. A GPS check-in feature handles hostile child exchanges by taking a snapshot of the location and time each parent arrives for the exchange. You can also allow other important people such as babysitters or new partners to have access to limited information under the Team Member option.
Cost: Both parents do not need to use this app. The basic plan is $119.99 per year or $12.99 per month per parent. If both parents want to sign up, the cost is $16.67 per month or $199.99 per year for both parents with a free 30-day trial period.
Google Calendar and Sheets: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ and https://www.google.com/sheets/
Who should use this: Parents who communicate and co-parent without many problems can use the simple calendar and spreadsheet options in the Google Suite apps. You may already be familiar with these since many businesses also use Google Calendar and Google Sheets.
Available features: One parent creates a Google calendar and invites the other to share. Both parents can add events or delete information and you can set up a notification preference to know when the other parent makes changes. Google Sheets can be used to track expenses and payments by either parent. These platforms do not include setup instructions and they are not specifically geared for co-parenting situations.
Cost: You can use Google Calendar and Google Sheets for free once you set up a free Google account.
When Co-parents Need Legal Assistance
We understand how difficult co-parenting can be. Sometimes parents need to return to court or at least call upon an experienced family law attorney. At Evans Kingsbury LLP, we are family lawyers with decades of experience, including successful custody and visitation cases. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 or fill out our easy contact form to discuss your case.