Co-parenting through a divorce can be challenging during the best of times. The stress and uncertainty we are all dealing with as the global health crisis continues only highlights our need for some control and stability in our lives. Even with COVID-19 limiting many activities, kids today are still busy and often over-scheduled. Thankfully, there is help for families learning to co-parent. From apps to online classes, valuable resources are available to make collaboration and communication easier and more efficient for divorcing or separating parents. Here are just a few suggestions and recommendations to get you started.
Online communication tools can help divorcing couples improve their ability to share information, increase the frequency of sharing, improve the quality of conversations, and make conversations more convenient and efficient. The benefits of co-parenting apps include the ability to share each child’s schedule, keep each parent notified about upcoming appointments, and track any shared expenses.
Coparently (which allows for a free 30-day trial) is easy to use, and you can add your kids to the account to allow them to contribute to scheduling and make requests, which makes it a good choice for families with teenagers who want to have a say in the decision-making process.
OurFamilyWizard was created by a divorced couple to help keep communications between co-parents as harmonious as possible. The app has an optional extra “ToneMeter,” which works like a spellchecker, picking up on negative tones in a message and giving you an alternative that is less likely to cause an argument. The app also logs communication, giving you easy access to accurate records for use in court proceedings.
Cozi (which is free) has a simple design and unique features and, although not specifically created with co-parents in mind, is a great first family calendar app to try. You can set up shared calendars, create to-do lists, share photos and recipes, and allow anyone (kids, grandparents, babysitters, etc.) to access the shared calendar, get reminders, and see lists.
The founder of weparent used psychological research to create an app for stress-free co-parenting. It allows parents to manage events and appointments, documents, custody schedules, and messaging.
Parentship (free for the first month) has a customized dashboard to show upcoming events, reminders to ensure that you won’t miss events, coordinated calendars, a “smart” profile for each child, and a digital document center for things like insurance providers, birth certificates, social security numbers, and passports.
2houses (which has a 14-day free-trial period) helps to organize a custody schedule, manage kids’ expenses, upload photos and notes, and exchange all necessary information, such as medical notes and school details. It also includes a messaging service and mediator access.
Depending on your family’s needs and circumstances, you may want a tool to improve communication and keep important information in one place. If your relationship with your co-parent is on shaky ground, you may need something that allows you to stay in touch while keeping disagreements and negativity to a minimum.
Many of the apps offer free basic versions or free trial periods, allowing you to experiment and find what works best for you and your family. The goal of these and other apps is to streamline family calendars, schedules, and communication. If the app does not accomplish this goal for you, or is too complicated to use, you are less likely to take advantage of it. Lastly, when choosing an app, keep in mind that some have per-parent pricing, while others charge per family. Adding accounts for children is usually free.
In addition to the co-parenting apps available, you may also benefit from the many co-parenting courses available online. In some situations, the court presiding over the divorce or separation will order the parents to complete a co-parenting class. If this is the case, you want to be sure that the class you choose will be accepted by the court.
Co-parenting classes can help parents learn to manage conflict calmly and to become more flexible in their approach to parenting. The result is often improved communication between parents and their children, which, in addition to improving the co-parent relationship, is highly beneficial to the children.
If you are going through a divorce or separation and need an experienced Oregon divorce attorney to protect your interests, we welcome you to contact Litowich Law. Based in Salem, we serve clients throughout Oregon and are dedicated to helping our clients and their families make well-informed decisions for their future.