Elizabeth recently returned a somewhat panicky voicemail from a divorce coaching client who had switched to using a co-parenting app to deal with a rather toxic ex. To paraphrase, the call went something along the lines of “He’s stopped being an asshole, something must be wrong!”
Calls like these make us love our jobs even more (in full transparency, these kinds of calls also make us dance around our offices barefoot while inappropriately whooping at the top of our lungs, but we digress…). Parenting apps are designed to do exactly this: Force combative co-parents to play nicely together, and streamline scheduling and information sharing to reduce headaches that come from co-parenting. Even the most collegial co-parents can benefit from an app that keeps all of the details of the kids’ schedules, doctors’ information, school contacts, and the like all in one place.
The market is chock full of co-parenting apps that range from basic calendars (including good ol’ Google calendars) to apps that provide unalterable documentation of location and communications that can be easily viewed by attorneys and the Court alike. Finding the right app to help your family depends on your budget and the specific co-parenting challenges you’re facing.
Regardless of your family’s needs and goals, any app you choose should have, at a minimum, these three elements:
The list below highlights some of the more popular apps, all of which integrate the must-have features, plus some bells and whistles we love. Here’s our greatest hits list to help narrow your search:
Our Family Wizard is a top-notch app that not only has communication features, a shared calendar, and shared information space, it also has a streamlined ability to keep track of children’s expenses (and make splitting kids expenses super-easy!). The program also has an option to share the information with your attorney, parenting coordinator, therapist, or event the Court. Our Family Wizard is a perennial favorite at our law firm and is an invaluable tool when Christy is serving as a parenting coordinator.
CoParenter is a newer app with some pretty exciting bells and whistles. In addition to calendar sync, secure messaging, and “check-ins’ using geopositioning, CoParenter provides on-demand conflict resolution services to help you and your co-parent reach decisions. CoParenter will even use its innovative AI to screen out some of the acrimony to keep communication clean and straight forward.
If you don’t need anything super-fancy, the Talking Parents app may be for you. Talking parents has a calendar, real-time notifications, and the ability to store and share files. Talking Parents’ claim to fame is their ability to maintain an unalterable record of all conversations, important dates, and shared files. If you’re wrapped up in litigation or dealing with a particularly combative— or even abusive— co-parent, this feature is a great tool for having a record you can pull to present in Court.
Trucee is another app that has messaging (an in-app texting-like service), a shared calendar, a log to keep track of your parenting time, and a way to keep track of expenses. Trucee also allows you to archive information or create reports for your lawyer if need be. Again, if you’re in litigation land or dealing with a particularly toxic ex, Trucee is worth considering.
2Houses is another straight-forward app that does what you need it to do; calendar management, tracking expenses, and information sharing (even photos!). This app is better suited for co-parents that have relatively low-conflict interactions. If you and your ex are on decent terms (hooray for you!), this app may be a great fit.
CoParently has a unique format to help parents to communicate in a straight-forward, child-centered manner while making decisions together. The goal is to keep communications business-like. This particular format may be cumbersome for some, but if a set of co-parents have absolutely terrible communication, this app may be the answer! The app also offers a shared calendar, shared contacts, and expense tracking.
Fayr has great functionality, but may not be appropriate for co-parents with any history of abuse or control, as it has a geo-location feature built in. This has been touted as a game-changing positive feature, because it provides a court-verifiable way to document whether or not a parent has been at an exchange location at a specific date and time.
One thing to consider about apps such as Fayr and CoParenter that have a geolocation log. An app with geo-fencing check-ins shouldn’t tell your co-parent where you are unless you choose to “check in” at a certain location (i.e. the exchange location). This is not the same as an abusive ex having a GPS tracker on you. However, as divorce professionals who understand domestic violence, control, and abuse, we can understand if this feature makes women with a history of abuse nervous. If this describes your circumstances, Our Family Wizard, Talking Parents, or Trucee are great options.
Whether you’re considering an app to reduce conflict with an ex who is prone to quacking (the unnecessary jabs parents hurl at each other when coordinating custody issues) or to simply iron our miscommunication, these powerful tools that fit in your pocket to help mitigate the many challenges that come from sharing parenting responsibilities. If you’re looking to level up your co-parenting, there’s an app for that!
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