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Co-Parenting Is Hard—But There’s An App For That

Even when you have a parenting plan and custody arrangements that fit your schedule well, the process of coordinating parenting tasks and communicating about key issues in your child's life can be incredibly challenging. Whose turn is it to pick up from soccer practice? Did you sign the permission slip for the field trip? Do you have a receipt from the math tutor? Trying to keep details straight and resolve questions and conflicts can be a fulltime job all on its own.

Fortunately, there are some apps that can help with scheduling, financial, and communication issues, helping you avoid angry phone calls and children stranded on the soccer field. Incorporating an app into your routine can be particularly helpful when you want to avoid frequent communication with your ex or when you simply do not have time for a conversation.

Understanding Your Options

If you want to use an app to help with scheduling and communication between you and a child’s other parent, there are two primary types of apps that can help. Many companies have developed specialized apps designed specifically for managing custody schedules, structuring communication, documenting expenses, keeping track of schedule changes, and more. These apps typically charge a fee that runs between $8 and $14 per month, but a few are free.

The other type of app that parents often use to coordinate schedules and tasks are free calendar apps intended for general use. These programs lack some of the targeted features and do not help with certain issues such as controlling communication, but they can sometimes be easier to use, and if you don’t like an app, you have not invested any financial resources on it and can try something else immediately.

Apps Designed for Co-Parenting

In our experience working with parents during and after the divorce process, we have discussed many different tools to smooth coordination and minimize conflict between parents. Some of the highest rated and most popular options for co-parenting phone apps include:

Certain apps focus on only one aspect of co-parenting. For instance, Onward was developed primarily to help parents manage expenses and facilitate reimbursement. Or the app Custody Xchange is designed to develop and manage custody agreements. It can help create a schedule, build that into a written parenting plan, and calculate parenting time. Of course, an app cannot take into account all the factors that should go into choosing the right plan and it is no substitute for working with an experienced custody attorney, but it can help provide some suggestions and keep track of schedules once they have been established.

Other co-parenting apps can help with a wide array of tasks, but perhaps not with the same degree of precision. For instance, AppClose includes multifunction calendars that can track parenting time, provide a platform for communicating schedule requests, and export records. In addition to the calendar, the app includes a messaging function for secure communications that keeps records of conversations that cannot be altered. The app also includes tools for tracking expenses and requesting reimbursement. Other apps may offer slightly different features, but choosing the best option may come down to a preference in the style of interface.

General Calendar Apps

Parents who are already familiar with a particular general calendar app may prefer to use one of that app in conjunction with a co-parent. For instance, if both parents regularly use Google calendar and other apps, they should be able to sync schedules and set up notifications to automatically send a message when something is changed or added to the calendar. Other popular calendar apps include Microsoft Outlook, aCalendar, DigiCal, and Any.do, which also includes to-do lists that can help with co-parenting communication.

While calendar apps have the advantage of simplicity and familiarity, they cannot help with functions such as keeping track of expenses or structuring communication. General calendar apps seem to work best for parents who already have good communication habits and just need a better way to keep track of schedules. Parents who struggle to establish rules and boundaries seem to benefit more from the advanced features included in apps designed specifically for co-parenting.

Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC Helps Parents Secure the Best Future for Their Children

Whether parents have recently separated or never lived together, the task of coordinating parenting duties often seems to pose fresh challenges each day. The team at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC has over 300 years of combined experience helping parents secure the best parenting plans for their children, but we know that it takes effort to keep those plans functioning. If you need help developing a parenting plan or enforcing terms, we invite you to schedule a confidential consultation.

 

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