In a world full of technology, everyday activities are constantly becoming easier. You can shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your home, on your schedule. Did you rush out the door this morning? It’s okay, because you can turn your lights and heat off by giving your phone a simple voice command. Don’t forget how simple it is to catch a cheater just by using your phone. With so many ways to make life easier, why should co-parenting be any different?
Personally, I don’t think co-parenting should be any more difficult than it has to be. Not only did I come from a divorced home, but I also married into a blended family. I know firsthand how crazy it can get with kids having to go from house to house. Nevermind the seemingly simple task of dropping off hockey gear or soccer cleats twice a week (which is never actually easy to remember, by the way). It’s always chaotic.
In my house, my husband doesn’t speak to his ex-wife daily about their kids and schedules, but I know that daily communication is a necessity for some families. Either way, co-parenting doesn’t always go smoothly or without conflict. Talking on the phone with an ex can very quickly become its own problem; I’m witness to that, for sure. Luckily, us co-parents have better solutions to plan our schedules. Welcome to the digital age of co-parenting apps!
But which one of these helpful apps is best for you? Read on for my review of three apps: Coparently, Our Family Wizard, and 2Houses.
What’s The Same
Between these three co-parenting apps, I found that they each have four incredibly useful tools: a custody calendar, a communication platform, an expense tracker, and a section to store important information.
- The custody calendar helps prevent miscommunication when it comes to parenting time with color-coded events. Or, at the very least, it makes it so exes don’t have to talk to each other. That’s a win-win for most.
- These apps all offer a communication platform that (hopefully) reduces conflict between parents by keeping the conversation focused on the kids (again, hopefully).
- Shared expenses can be tracked easily with options to upload receipts and statements, making it easy for one parent to see what the other is spending and to be held accountable for paying their share.
- Each app offers an “information bank” for easy access to important information, such as medical paperwork, childcare, school contacts, etc. This one in particular would be the most useful for my family since my husband’s kids are under their mother’s health insurance, and we don’t have their physical insurance cards.
Coparently offers a free guest access account, which keeps your family members, caregivers, or family law professionals involved. This can be very useful for step-parents, such as myself, to stay updated without getting involved.
Pricing: $99 per year, per parent; $9.99 per month, per parent.
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard gives you the option to sign up your kids for a free account. A child account offers limited access to tools that your kids may need, like the custody calendar. This helps them stay in the loop with their parents. Also, a tool completely unique to Our Family Wizard is ToneMeter, which is an “emotional spell-check” that analyzes the tone of your messages to reduce conflict. I’m sure there are plenty of divorced or separated parents that would appreciate it!
Pricing: $99 per year, per parent; $179 per two years, per parent; Package A and B pricing with ToneMeter and other options.
2Houses offers a small social network called “the journal,” where you can share images, videos, quotes, drawings, and more. There’s also an album section that allows you to post full resolution images. This is great for split families who like sharing memories and milestones with each other.
Pricing: $9.99 per month, per family, billed annually.
Since many families may only need to use one of these tools, I looked into standalone apps. My family is a perfect example: with 50/50 custody, we don’t have to split any expenses (except when they get to college someday). But, we could definitely use an app with custody calendars. Here are a few apps you can check out.
From uploading receipts for school supplies to marking a payment to your babysitter as paid, SupportPay focuses solely on the financial side of co-parenting. This is much easier than having to text receipts or other pieces of information.
Pricing: A free version offers limited options; $7.99 per month; $4.99 per month, billed annually.
If the other parent moves, you may want to figure out how to find criminal records of their neighbors or new people in your children’s lives. Kiwi Searches can help with that. No need to worry about your kids’ safety when you can just do a quick search.
Pricing: $19.99 premium search.
Custody X Change
This tool allows you to create and share a custody calendar. With simple drag and drop options, you can adjust your schedule as needed. It’s also easy to add in time when one of your kids isn’t with either parent, whether they’re with friends or at sports practice. Custody X Change will then calculate how much time your kids spend with each parent. This can be helpful to make sure everyone is getting their full visitation or custody time.
Pricing: A free option (with limited tools); $57 per year (with several tools); $97 per year (with all available tools).
Every family is different, even before a divorce or separation ends up creating a new family dynamic. These co-parenting apps can help you stay organized and avoid conflict so you can focus on what’s important: your children and the time you spend with them.