The Family Law Act (1975) is fundamentally organised around the principle that a child should have the opportunity for a meaningful relationship with both parents. Easier said than done, you may say, especially if tensions are running high between you and your former partner. From a kid’s perspective, though, the opportunity to have a good relationship with a parent is often made of the little things – getting to swim practice on time, not missing a birthday party, not having to hear parents bicker.
Fortunately, although not all the challenges of co-parenting have technological solutions, there are ways to take the temperature down a little bit when it comes to the mundane details of information-sharing and scheduling. Some courts even recommend these apps to maintain communication without arguments.
They may also make the details of coordinating with grandparents and nannies smoother, too. It does really take a village, and every village needs a good communication system.
There’s an app for that!
There are quite a few apps designed to make the details of custody dates, expense management and general information sharing easier. Think of them as the new and improved kitchen whiteboard for the modern family.
Without making any recommendation, here is a selection of choices that we are aware of. Take a look at them, to see which might best address your needs. They have slightly different features, and some are designed to be used in conjunction with other scheduling devices. Some, but not all are free.
- Our Family Wizard – This may be the best known co-parenting app. It offers a comprehensive array of functions, including scheduling, expense records, and other vital details.
- 2houses – This is also frequently recommended and features time, expense management and information sharing functions, particularly ways to share school details and medical information.
- Kidganizer – Expense and information management.
- Parenting Apart – This is intended as a supplement to other apps, and primarily provides advice and support for parents struggling with issues associated with divorce and separation. Think of it as an online divorce coach.
- Cozi – Not specifically designed for co-parents, it has a very simple- to-use calendar. It has been around for some years and may already be familiar to parents newly faced with co-parent scheduling complexities.
- Custody Connection – This one is cloud-based, sync able and can be seen by both parents and children. Changes to the schedule may be automatically uploaded, which may reduce the need for phone calls or texts.
- Coparently – Time and expense manager, designed to ease communication, as well.
- Alimentor – The somewhat unusual feature here is the ability to generate reports to document time spent, money, etc.
- Talking Parents – keeps a complete record of conversations between parents. Like Alimentor, this may be a litigation aid.
- Google Calendar – Another good calendaring function with which many people are already familiar.
- Custody Junction – Scheduling and reporting features. This is an online co-parenting management system that you subscribe to, not actually an app.
- AboutOne – This appears to focus on keeping family documents organised.
Evaluate your and your partner’s needs and talents
All of these apps are, to a greater or lesser extent, designed to keep children away from any parental conflict, and our list certainly does not exhaust the list of tools available. Which one is right for your situation will depend on your and your partner’s tech sophistication and needs. For that matter, it may be wise to consider the abilities of anyone else who might be using it, like a nanny or grandparent. In many cases, there may be a trade-off between the sophistication of features and ease of use.
Getting a less-than-eager co-parent to use one of these techniques may also be difficult. That is where you may need the services of a third party to negotiate a satisfactory, low-conflict arrangement.
Co-parenting can be a challenge, but it is very important to get it right for the sake of the children involved. The attorneys at Owen Hodge Lawyers are eager to help. Please call us to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience at 1800 770 780.