Separated parents need to co-operate – there are now two households to organise! Fortunately, there are several co-parenting apps specifically designed to assist with communication and make co-parenting as simple and stress-free as possible. In this blog, we will look at the common features of co-parenting apps and some of the popular apps being used by separated parents.
Co-parenting can be difficult even for parents whose separation was amicable. Children need stability and security as they grow to ensure that their developmental needs are met and that that they are happy and well-adjusted. We have previously published an article, “Top 10 tips for co-parenting” which you may find useful.
Juggling your own schedule is often a challenge. Throw in a co-parenting schedule, extra-curricular activities, doctor’s appointments and birthday parties and it’s no surprise that parents find it difficult to keep track.
The creators of co-parenting apps understand that busy schedules often create tension so they have created interactive shared calendars to make it easy to coordinate plans and ensure that both parents are on the same page. This should help to avoid arguments over who is taking Elisa to swimming lessons or who is collecting Alexander from his dance class.
The calendars also enable parents to request swaps without back-and-forth communications. This is particularly helpful for those occasions when family events are scheduled on days when the children are not usually in your care.
Miscommunications are often a source of tension in co-parenting. The apps provide a safe space for parents to communicate. This is a particularly important feature for parents whose relationship ended badly or where there is a history of domestic violence.
Unlike text messages or email, communication apps will show you when messages are sent/received and whether they have been read. The messages cannot be edited, deleted, or retracted. Some apps even have a profanity filter to encourage positive and child-focused communication.
Exchanging messages in a neutral and secure environment will reduce the risk of friction between parents, allowing the parents more time to focus on the children.
The apps also allow parents to share photos and events with each other, meaning neither parent misses out on special moments!
No more searching through multiple emails or text messages to locate the details of Eric’s dentist or the telephone number for Grace’s tennis coach. These apps provide a tool to keep all important information and documents in one place.
With comprehensive categories including medical records, school schedules (inclusive of homework to be completed!) and clothing sizes, the apps allow parents to organize shared documents.
Access to a shared information bank means co-parents have all vital information at their fingertips and reduces the amount of contact co-parents need to have with each other.
Let the apps do the maths for you. Co-parents can maintain a shared register of expenses, upload receipts, send payments invitations to their co-parent and generate customised reports.
Co-parents must enter the same level of detail for each expense. Having a clear picture of child-related expenses reduces the tension caused by financial stress and having to chase your co-parent for half the cost of Alexa’s new school uniform!
Some apps also allow you to suggest future gifts for the children and share the cost of these gifts.
There are a variety of post-separation apps to choose from. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Cost: Starting at $130 per year (per parent)
Our Family Wizard was created by a divorced couple in need of better co-parenting communication and sharing of information! This app is popular and if cost is not an issue, it is a good option.
Cost: $159 per year (shared between parents)
Co-parents should take advantage of 2Houses 14-day free trial to see if the app suits their needs. 2Houses also allows you to make subscription payments in monthly instalments, making the app more accessible.
This app is an Australian built app created by Stepfamilies Australia and Drummond Street Services. Judges in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia recommend this app to co-parents who are struggling to communicate effectively and even make the use of the app mandatory in some co-parenting relationships.
This app is still in its early days and has fewer features than some other apps. However, if you are looking for an app that focuses solely on making communication easier, then it may be a good option for you. Divito is currently offering full service as an ongoing free trial, meaning co-parents can experiment with the app obligation-free.
Remember, all shared care arrangements take time to adjust to. Every family has different needs, and you may need to trial different communication methods to see what works best for you and your co-parent.
If you have downloaded one of the above apps and are still finding communication overwhelming, you could consider counselling to help you and your co-parent transition.
In some circumstances, you may need a lawyer to assist with communications. Get in touch with one of our family lawyers for a free initial discussion to find out the most appropriate solution for you.
This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact Emera Smith.