6 Apps you have to try
Gone are the days when a text with an emoji from your partner set your stomach aflutter and put a smile on your face. Now that that partner is an ex the texts are likely to make your stomach drop in a different way. So here is 6 apps you have to try that will make communication a whole lot easier.
Co-parenting may be the hardest thing you ever have to do, and if you are afraid to turn on your phone or open your email it can sabotage your best-laid plans and intentions.
Here you are, in a world where the one person you couldn’t live with, is someone you now have to find a way to communicate effectively with.
You need to cooperate. You both want your kids to be happy, well-adjusted, secure and successful. Even though you are now separated, you both still need to be part of that.
So you need to find another way to communicate – a “safe space” where you can both focus on your kids, what they have on, a photo of them getting a Merit Award, which friend’s birthday party is on Sunday, whether you are going to be late to handover.
Guess what? There’s an app for that! Here are 6 apps you have to try that we have shared with clients as a way of isolating their communication about coparenting. Every family has different needs and different ways communication is going to work. Based on what our clients have told us we have summarised the best of the apps we have found – feel free to let us know about any others that have worked for you!
Our Family Wizard is designed specifically for co-parenting. It enables parents to manage all aspects of their shared parenting agreement in one place, from calendars to expenses. It’s been popular for a while now but it does cost a bit and that doesn’t suit everyone. If cost isn’t such a big issue we still think this is up there with the best.
per parent per year
Availability: Online, Android or Apple Store.
- Calendar: the calendar allows parents to organize appointments, track parenting schedules, schedule holidays or events and propose parenting time swaps.
- Information Bank: the app has an information bank which is simple way to share contact details, school schedules, photos of children, insurance information and medical information.
- Expenses Log: enables parents to track medical, school and child support expenses, with a feature that enables you to attach receipts to an expense entry and inform each other of incoming payments.
- Message Board: a secure platform for communication between parents which ensures all communication is safely recorded and unable to be tampered with. The messaging app also has a ToneMeter which helps parents commit to keeping communication positive and productive.
main benefit is that it keeps all communication and records within the one
tool, leaving little to no room for miscommunication arising. It’s a one stop
shop – already set up and design specific for coparents, so you can start today
and your ex can jump straight onboard – it won’t involve explaining how to reconfigure
a more general app.
Cons: this app is expensive, and many clients have baulked at having to pay when apps such as WhatsApp and AppClose are free.
2 Houses is designed to assist separated couples in communicating and organizing. Much like Our Family Wizard, 2 Houses has a shared platform to communicate each other’s schedules, shared expenses and information. The app allows parents to have a 14-day free trial, which is a great way to determine whether it’s going to work with your new family arrangement.
$150 per year for the whole family ($79.50 per
Availability: Online, Apple and Android.
- Calendar: creates parenting schedules, add events or activities, request a parenting time swap for the other party to accept.
- Finance: within the app parents can simply manage shared expenses and clearly identify any owing payments from one another.
- Messages: the app has also implemented a messaging tool that keeps all communication within the same place.
- Information Bank: the app also has an information bank which holds medical information, contact details, and shared documents such as family photos.
Pros: Again, all in the same place, neat, tidy and easy to explain to a resistant ex.
Cons: And again the negatives are around cost. Clients have reported struggling to get the ex to sign up.
Cozi is a family organization tool designed to help coordinate and manage schedules. The app is not specifically designed for co-parenting, but clients say it works in much the same way and has been easy to understand. This works best for parents who already have a strong co-parenting routine established, and just need a simple way of organizing their schedules. If one of you is the primary organizer, this will help you get everything locked in, in a clear way for your ex to follow or amend.
(with ads) or $19.99 per year without ads.
Availability: Apple, Android or online.
- Shared Calendar
- To-do lists
- Family Journal
- Shopping list
Pros: the app is simple to use and, if you don’t mind ads, free. We hate them but $19.99 per year is also pretty reasonable. Great for people who are generally on the same page, just clash over scheduling or commitment to plans.
Cons: it is not specifically designed for co-parenting so some features – such as a moderated and recording messaging system – are not included.
AppClose is specifically designed for co-parenting. And it’s free. It’s really user friendly and has most of the features needed to address common parenting disputes. AppClose is the top pick for people who like the look and feel of Our Family Wizard or 2 Houses but don’t want to pay. This app is not available online, everyone you want to use it needs to download it – that can be you and your ex, you and your lawyer, your and your ex and his mother, you and a teacher. You create groups and you can communicate with all of them in one chat or one on one with others (your lawyer or a secondary carer while the kids are with you, or just you and your ex). It’s pretty cool but takes a bit of setting up for all the downloads.
Availability: Apple Store or Google Play
- Shared Calendar
- Child-related expenses tracker
- Message Board
- Information Bank
app is easy to navigate and shares the same features as a subscription service
minus the cost.
Cons: it’s not online. That’s not fatal, just setting up is different.
WhatsApp is a great alternative to any co-parenting app available. WhatsApp is mainly a messaging service, but also enables documents to be shared between parties. One of the best things about it is that just about everyone has heard of it and understands it.
Availability: Apple Store, Android, web and desktop.
- Messaging and Phone calls
- Document Sharing
way to communicate and share important documents. If you both already use or understand
WhatsApp it can be a really easy way to get going fast.
Cons: Not specifically designed for co-parenting and does not include a calendar or expense tracker (Google calendar could be used conjunctively). We don’t love it as clients tend to use it for other things as well and it becomes another messaging app rather than that exclusive safe space focused on the kids.
Family Wall is the leading family organiser that includes a shared calendar, shopping & Grocery lists, Family Real Time Locator, a Photo/Video Album and a secure messenger. It is not designed specifically for co-parenting but it’s another free one that can be used effectively, and get some patterns up and running quickly.
Availability: Apple Store, Android, web and desktop.
- Shared calendar
- Shopping Lists and To-Do- Lists
- Real time family locator
- Photo Gallery
- Contacts List
Pros: easy way to communicate and organize busy schedules.
Cons: it is not specifically designed for co-parenting so some features which would be ideal for co-parenting are not included.
Susan Hewitt is the Principal at Bright Side Family Law, a non-litigious family law and mediation practice. Susan has worked as a lawyer and journalist for almost 30 years. She is an accredited collaborative lawyer and family-law mediator who is committed to helping families through their relationship breakdown in an honest, cooperative and respectful manner.
If you are facing a family law matter call or email Bright Side