Co-parenting is not an easy task. You have to learn to emotionally separate yourself from the other parent and treat your communications like business. When do you pick up the kids? What do they need for soccer practice? Who is their guidance counselor? It’s a lot to keep up with.
What if there was “an app for that”? Just your luck, there is! A couple of apps, actually. I’d like to introduce those apps to you in this blog post in the hopes that you will find the best way for your family to communicate.
1) Google Calendar. The first app I will introduce is the simplest one of all: a shared electronic calendar. It is easy to set up and use, and it’s free. You can set up multiple calendars for different things, such as, a calendar for visitation, a calendar for doctor and dentist appointments, a calendar for school events, a calendar for extracurricular activities, and so on. Either parent can add events to the calendar, and cause a notification to be sent to the other parent so that they know what was added. Stepparents and children can also be given access to the calendar, so that everyone knows where the children are at any point in time. The children can look at the calendar and know which parent to ask about a sleepover, for example, or whose house they will be at for Christmas. Kids thrive on stability and certainty, and something as simple as a Google Calendar can provide just that.
2) Our Family Wizard. Our Family Wizard is the creme-de-la-creme of co-parenting apps. It has everything you could want and more. Not only is there a calendar, but there is also an internal messaging app, expense tracking, medical information, school information, and note taking. Attorneys like it because it saves everything: you can easily print or send all of your communications with the other parent to your attorney if there’s a problem. You can easily track expenses and reimbursement, if someone falls behind. It even has a feature to identify and flag “emotionally charged sentences” to help prevent you from accidentally saying something that you might regret! Pretty nifty stuff. The only downside to this wonderful service is the price: $120 per year. But with that, you get excellent customer service and an excellent service. Most clients find that it is well worth the price.
3) AppClose. AppClose is the budget version of Our Family Wizard. It has many of the same features, but none of the price, because it’s free! It also has a calendar, messager, expense tracking & reimbursement, and important information. With the expense tracking, you can log an expense in the app and request reimbursement from the other parent, who can pay through the app, instantly. From my experience, AppClose doesn’t work quite as seamlessly as Our Family Wizard. In fact, the set up can take awhile. But once it’s set up and you get the hang of it, it’s great! And at the $0 price, it’s worth a try.
4) Cozi Family Organizer. Cozi is an app that is used by nuclear families and non-traditional families alike. It is an easy way to organize your family’s life by use of electronic calendars, to-do lists, a family journal, and even recipes and shopping lists! It is easily shared across all of your devices. It is an upgrade from the Google Calendar, but not quite the full-fledged co-parenting app like Our Family Wizard or AppClose. If you’re like Goldilocks and want something in the middle, Cozi is a great choice for you. And once again, it’s free, unless you opt for the Cozy Gold, which has additional features.