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USEFUL APPS FOR HELP WITH CO-PARENTING

Parenting with kids’ busy schedules is difficult enough when the parents are in the same house,

and many families (including ours) have that calendar on the refrigerator that becomes indispensable in figuring out which child has to be where.  So what about families where the parents are not together and custody time is shared?  Each parent still has to be able to keep track of practices, games, rehearsals, early dismissal days, doctor appointments and all of the other places that kids have to be.

Well, luckily, there are Apps for that stuff now. This article will go through some of the common ways parents can keep their co-parenting organized. From the most basic to the most complicated.

Scheduling Apps: to help keep co-parents organized

Google Calendar:  Google calendar is not designed specifically for co-parenting but it can work fairly well. If you just need a shared calendar for kids activities it is easy. Each parent can enter activities with the time and date and it will show up on the other parent’s calendar.  Just make sure that you keep this calendar separate from your other calendars of you don’t want your former spouse to see everything else that you are doing.

Cozi:  This is actually marketed as a family organizer, and several of my friends use it to keep their whole family communicating about activities, grocery lists, who will be home for dinner, and many other things. The events/activity section works well to keep you and your co-parent on the same page about schedules, and your children can have the app on their phone to add events as well. (They could also do that with the Google calendar but in my experience as a parent, kids seem to be somewhat calendar averse).

CoParenting/Communication Apps: to help co-parents that have problems communicating

  • Our Family Wizard:  Our Family Wizard is the app most commonly ordered by judges in the St Louis Metro area. Often parents just cannot communicate with each other about their children. They don’t speak to each other and a parent sending an email or a text message either gets no response, or the conversation turns into some terrible argument or ends up with name calling or parents threatening each other. Our Family Wizard keeps people accountable for that, by saving the conversation, which can be shared with a judge, attorney or Guardian ad Litem. All the “he said-she said” is eliminated if this is the only form of communication. There is also a scheduling section where parents enter the kids practices, games, appointments, and even a function where parents can upload medical bills and receipts showing children’s expenses and make payments to each other for expenses through an OFW cash app. OFW is available for PC/Mac, iPhones and Androids and the cost is $99.00 per year for each parent.
  • Talking Parents:  Talking Parents is an alternative app to Our Family Wizard. The main benefit of it over OFW is that it is free. It has many of the same basic functions as OFW, however, there is no expense sharing capability and it is not as user friendly, especially for any third parties that you may want to be sharing communications with. If you are paying a Guardian ad Litem to read your communications with your ex, you may end up paying more for the Guardian to wade through the Talking Parents messages than you would have paid to just have Our Family Wizard in the first place.
  • 2 Houses: This app is pretty similar to Our Family Wizard, the cost is $150.00 per year total, so you would likely split that cost with your co-parent. I have had clients that started using it when they separated and it seemed to work well for them. Since it was working well, the judge was not going to make them switch to Our Family Wizard.

Some other apps out there are follows:

  • Co-Parenter:  $119.99 per person per year
  • Co-Parently:  $99.00 per person per year
  • Truece: $99.99 per year but this varies depending on the options you choose
  • Custody Junction:  $47.00 each.  This has no mobile app.

If I am discussing a co-parenting app with a client prior to a court order, I usually will suggest Our Family Wizard in anticipation of that being the one most likely to be ordered by a judge in St Louis County/City or St Charles County.

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