Technology in Co-Parenting Communications: Keeping it Together for the Child and the Court

MFL_michel-HSabout

Attorney, Michel L. Watson, Esq.

Co Parenting Apps for Mobile Smartphone or Computer

Co-parenting can be challenging. Whether you household is under one roof or if you are living separately – tools can help keep you organized.

Parents can’t afford to space-out on child pickups and drop-offs, miss reimbursements, nor waste time over the basic decisions parents face each day. Technology is available to help you stay organized and on top of schedules.

Several options exist and were designed specifically for calendaring and to keep communications secure – AND that create records that can be presented to the court if there is a problem. The various apps can help to reduce heated calls and confrontations, which may help keep you communicating and out of the courtroom.

Co-parenting apps fall into two categories:

  • Paid apps designed particularly for legal use or “co-parents. They have a shared calendar and provide secure, un-editable communication logs and financial files to track expenses and payments.
  • Free calendaring apps for general uses. You set these up yourself. A bit of tech-ability is needed but not much. You should have a stable communication style between you and the other parent and others you want to include (such as grandparents, nannies, other care givers or transporters).

Here are the apps with their specific introductions and links to more information:

Our Family Wizard

https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/

Cost: $99/year, per parent

Helpful Features

  • Calendar – Shared calendar with one-touch trade and swap features and auto generated documentation logs for when you accept or reject schedule alterations.
  • Message Board – Use the instant messaging platform where users cannot edit or remove messages that are already sent.
  • Expense Log – Track parenting expenses and reimbursements. Upload your receipts. Pay with credit and debit cards securely.
  • Journal/Log – Keep a detailed log on the children and upload documents as needed.

Differentiators

From the creator’s website: “The “ToneMeter” (extra $10/year) is one useful feature that sets OFW apart from other solutions like it. Think of it as an emotional spell check. It detects and flags emotionally charged messages, and offers users ways to adjust the message into something more appropriate. This reduces harmful and unnecessary back-and-forth between parents, and ensures you look cool, calm, and collected should your messages be reviewed in family court. One of our clients asked an attorney to review 300 pages of heated back-and-forth between separated parents. ToneMeter could have helped to avoid that kind of mess.”

Talking Parents

https://talkingparents.com/

Cost: Around $60/year for premium features. (Free version available with features paid for la carte.)

Features

  • Shared calendar – Log timesharing events, note appointments, schedule extra-curricular activities in one convenient place.
  • Store and share files – Save pertinent images and documents in a searchable library. Logs which files have been shared with parents.
  • Unalterable records – Includes details about when every calendar event was recorded or edited, and when each parent reviewed the notification.
  • Real-time notifications – Receive push notifications to your device whenever a parent posts a new message.
  • Accountable Payments – Keep track of all of your shared parenting expenses. You and your co-parent can make payment requests and securely send or receive money.
  • Accountable Calling – Make video or phone calls, complete with call recordings and transcripts, all without disclosing your phone number.

Differentiators

From the creator’s website: “Talking Parents is probably the most popular co-parenting app in use with our clients that have conflict in their past history. The free desktop version has a lot of appeal from the get-go. There are “premium” monthly fees for using the mobile app, and additional fees if you want to create PDFs of calendars, conversations, and notes to show third parties (lawyer or family court officials).”

2Houses

https://www.2houses.com/

Cost: $12.50/month available year contract for the whole family

Features

  • Shared calendar – Build your schedule in an interactive calendar with many similar features as Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard. Synchronizes with major calendaring apps like Google calendar, Outlook, and others.
  • Finance tracker – Offers a simple financial logging system for tracking shared expenses. Includes an easy to use reporting dashboard that encodes categorized spending over a period of time.
  • Information Bank – Offers secure storage for banking information, social security numbers, medical information, clothing sizes, and whatever else you may need.
  • Journal – Contains an extensive information sharing feature that resembles a social network for sharing milestone moments and memories.

Differentiators

2Houses offers streamlined functionality compared to other pay-to-use apps. It offers several of essentially the same features found in more expensive products. There are some usability complaints that are left unaddressed by the makers on Google Play.

coParenter

Cost: $119.99/year, per parent

Features

  • Messaging and documentation: Provides secure, non-editable messaging with time stamps. Includes a feature similar to the ToneMeter in Our Family Wizard, that flags emotionally-charged language and swear words.
  • Live Coaching: Delivers a professional support network that is available in real-time chat. Includes live assistance for resolving disputes between parents.
  • “Solo” Function: Messaging platform is designed to operate if only one parent signs up for the application.

Differentiators

The live coaching feature differentiates coParenter from the pack and makes this a truly boutique service for co-parenting where there has been a lot of conflict. Note that each time you use ‘on demand’ professional services you use credits, for which you have a certain allotment. You may purchase extra.

Co Parently

http://coparently.com/

Cost: $99/year, per parent

Features

  • Custody calendar: Set-up and manage parenting time and events in a color-coded calendar.
  • Messaging: Secure, un-editable, and time stamped communication similar to what other apps offer.
  • Expense tracking: Tabulate and track your shared expenses and payments in a printable and exportable format.

Differentiators

The differentiating feature is the guest access to the messaging platform. It gives parents flexibility to share scheduling and logistical information with guest users (a family lawyer, caretaker, grandparents, children) while cordoning off parents’ communication logs.

Google Calendar & Sheets

https://calendar.google.com
https://sheets.google.com

Cost: Free

Features

  • Google Calendar– Available to both parents once it is created and the other parent is invited.
  • Google Sheets – Integrate a simple spreadsheet to track expenses

Differentiators

If you are reasonably handy with Google’s tools and into DIY organization, and more importantly you have a workable co-parenting situation with the other parent, then the Google Suite is a powerful tool to keep your schedules on track. The only thing you need is a Google account, which is free.

After setting up the calendar and inviting the other parent, it’s helpful to set your preferences so that all updates trigger an e-mail any time something is added or updated in the calendar. For events like a doctor’s appointment or teacher conference, simply enter notes right in the calendar for the other parent to review.

Cozi

Cost: Free

Features

  • Shared calendar – Coordinate schedules in one secure location. Set reminders, add color coding, and share across devices.
  • Consolidated lists – Designate one place for your shopping lists, to-do lists, and receipts that are accessible from anywhere with a data connection.

Differentiators

Cozi is a family planner for families remaining intact and those who are separate. Helping you stay organized when parents live apart and keeps conflicts low. It offers a straightforward way to set up a shared calendar and keep everyone’s busy schedules on the same page.

If you have ideas for different programs let us know and we will add it here to help other families communicate.

Provided by Rhoden Law Group. Complimentary initial consultations – call or text 321-549-3162 or email using the contact form on this site. #TopFamilyLawAttorneys #FloridasBestFamilyLawyers #AVVORated #NegotiateThenLitigate

Technology in Co-Parenting Communications: Keeping it Together for the Child and the Court

Co Parenting Apps for Phone or Computer

Co-parenting can be challenging. Whether you household is under one roof or if you are living separately – tools can help keep you organized.

Parents can’t afford to space-out on child pickups and drop-offs, miss reimbursements, nor waste time over the basic decisions parents face each day. Technology is available to help you stay organized and on top of schedules.

Several options exist and were designed specifically for calendaring and to keep communications secure – AND that create records that can be presented to the court if there is a problem. The various apps can help to reduce heated calls and confrontations, which may help keep you communicating and out of the courtroom.

Co-parenting apps fall into two categories:

  • Paid apps designed particularly for legal use or “co-parents. They have a shared calendar and provide secure, un-editable communication logs and financial files to track expenses and payments.
  • Free calendaring apps for general uses. You set these up yourself. A bit of tech-ability is needed but not much. You should have a stable communication style between you and the other parent and others you want to include (such as grandparents, nannies, other care givers or transporters).

Here are the apps with their specific introductions and links to more information:

Our Family Wizard

https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/

Cost: $99/year, per parent

Helpful Features

  • Calendar – Shared calendar with one-touch trade and swap features and auto generated documentation logs for when you accept or reject schedule alterations.
  • Message Board – Use the instant messaging platform where users cannot edit or remove messages that are already sent.
  • Expense Log – Track parenting expenses and reimbursements. Upload your receipts. Pay with credit and debit cards securely.
  • Journal/Log – Keep a detailed log on the children and upload documents as needed.

Differentiators

From the creator’s website: “The “ToneMeter” (extra $10/year) is one useful feature that sets OFW apart from other solutions like it. Think of it as an emotional spell check. It detects and flags emotionally charged messages, and offers users ways to adjust the message into something more appropriate. This reduces harmful and unnecessary back-and-forth between parents, and ensures you look cool, calm, and collected should your messages be reviewed in family court. One of our clients asked an attorney to review 300 pages of heated back-and-forth between separated parents. ToneMeter could have helped to avoid that kind of mess.”

Talking Parents

https://talkingparents.com/

Cost: Around $60/year for premium features. (Free version available with features paid for la carte.)

Features

  • Shared calendar – Log timesharing events, note appointments, schedule extra-curricular activities in one convenient place.
  • Store and share files – Save pertinent images and documents in a searchable library. Logs which files have been shared with parents.
  • Unalterable records – Includes details about when every calendar event was recorded or edited, and when each parent reviewed the notification.
  • Real-time notifications – Receive push notifications to your device whenever a parent posts a new message.
  • Accountable Payments – Keep track of all of your shared parenting expenses. You and your co-parent can make payment requests and securely send or receive money.
  • Accountable Calling – Make video or phone calls, complete with call recordings and transcripts, all without disclosing your phone number.

Differentiators

From the creator’s website: “Talking Parents is probably the most popular co-parenting app in use with our clients that have conflict in their past history. The free desktop version has a lot of appeal from the get-go. There are “premium” monthly fees for using the mobile app, and additional fees if you want to create PDFs of calendars, conversations, and notes to show third parties (lawyer or family court officials).”

2Houses

https://www.2houses.com/

Cost: $12.50/month available year contract for the whole family

Features

  • Shared calendar – Build your schedule in an interactive calendar with many similar features as Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard. Synchronizes with major calendaring apps like Google calendar, Outlook, and others.
  • Finance tracker – Offers a simple financial logging system for tracking shared expenses. Includes an easy to use reporting dashboard that encodes categorized spending over a period of time.
  • Information Bank – Offers secure storage for banking information, social security numbers, medical information, clothing sizes, and whatever else you may need.
  • Journal – Contains an extensive information sharing feature that resembles a social network for sharing milestone moments and memories.

Differentiators

2Houses offers streamlined functionality compared to other pay-to-use apps. It offers several of essentially the same features found in more expensive products. There are some usability complaints that are left unaddressed by the makers on Google Play.

coParenter

Cost: $119.99/year, per parent

Features

  • Messaging and documentation: Provides secure, non-editable messaging with time stamps. Includes a feature similar to the ToneMeter in Our Family Wizard, that flags emotionally-charged language and swear words.
  • Live Coaching: Delivers a professional support network that is available in real-time chat. Includes live assistance for resolving disputes between parents.
  • “Solo” Function: Messaging platform is designed to operate if only one parent signs up for the application.

Differentiators

The live coaching feature differentiates coParenter from the pack and makes this a truly boutique service for co-parenting where there has been a lot of conflict. Note that each time you use ‘on demand’ professional services you use credits, for which you have a certain allotment. You may purchase extra.

Co Parently

http://coparently.com/

Cost: $99/year, per parent

Features

  • Custody calendar: Set-up and manage parenting time and events in a color-coded calendar.
  • Messaging: Secure, un-editable, and time stamped communication similar to what other apps offer.
  • Expense tracking: Tabulate and track your shared expenses and payments in a printable and exportable format.

Differentiators

The differentiating feature is the guest access to the messaging platform. It gives parents flexibility to share scheduling and logistical information with guest users (a family lawyer, caretaker, grandparents, children) while cordoning off parents’ communication logs.

Google Calendar & Sheets

https://calendar.google.com

https://sheets.google.com

Cost: Free

Features

  • Google Calendar– Available to both parents once it is created and the other parent is invited.
  • Google Sheets – Integrate a simple spreadsheet to track expenses

Differentiators

If you are reasonably handy with Google’s tools and into DIY organization, and more importantly you have a workable co-parenting situation with the other parent, then the Google Suite is a powerful tool to keep your schedules on track. The only thing you need is a Google account, which is free.

After setting up the calendar and inviting the other parent, it’s helpful to set your preferences so that all updates trigger an e-mail any time something is added or updated in the calendar. For events like a doctor’s appointment or teacher conference, simply enter notes right in the calendar for the other parent to review.

Cozi

Cost: Free

Features

  • Shared calendar – Coordinate schedules in one secure location. Set reminders, add color coding, and share across devices.
  • Consolidated lists – Designate one place for your shopping lists, to-do lists, and receipts that are accessible from anywhere with a data connection.

Differentiators

Cozi is a family planner for families remaining intact and those who are separate. Helping you stay organized when parents live apart and keeps conflicts low. It offers a straightforward way to set up a shared calendar and keep everyone’s busy schedules on the same page.

If you have ideas for different programs let us know and we will add it here to help other families communicate.

All information provided by Michel Watson Law as a courtesy to our clients seeking alternate forms of communication. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at 321-362-7891 or clicking the “Contact Us” tab above.