Exes can be difficult enough to deal with, but when you have children with your ex, eliminating the tug-of-war and game playing can be exhausting. However, there are convenient communication tools available to you, accessible anywhere from your smartphone, tablet or computer to document and control the line of communications. That can reduce miscommunications, coulda, woulda, shoulda and parenting time issues that those of us who are co-parenting with a difficult person can use to help manage the stress and discord.
Our Family Wizard
The most well-known of these communication tools is Our Family Wizard. This service has a subscription base price of $99.00 per year. If you buy multiple years at once, you will receive a discount on the subscription price. What makes Family Wizard so usable are all of the tools that it provides. I tell clients to use every tab on Family Wizard to document, document and document some more. Family Courts are so very bogged down with heavy dockets, Judges do not have the time or the inclination to listen to every single instance where your ex has failed to do what he/she said they would do. If you have records from Family Wizard, either in email form, on the expense log or calendar, or in your personal notations that the other party cannot see, these can assist the Court in quickly resolving issues without having to get into a back and forth. The Our Family Wizard app will allow you to keep a timeline of things such as non-payments for items the ex is supposed to cover, but has failed to do. Apps like Our Family Wizard can also extend control to you, instead of taking over your like. Unlike constant text messages, phone calls and harassing emails arriving all of the time, you can check the app when you desire, respond, document and keep track of your life with your kids in a nice electronic form that is readily available when the ex is being well the ex. Best of all, the email cannot be edited or altered once sent.
Other apps available include Cozi, Talking Parents, Coparenter and AppClose.
- Cozi’s calendar feature is great if you have family members who are also invested in your child with you and your co-parent. Cozi is free, but in order to avail yourself to the advertisement free version, you pay $30.00 annually. The strongest feature on Cozi as mentioned earlier is its calendar capabilities. The calendar in this app can be shared with up to 16 individuals. Cozi is a good tool for everyone to use, not just families in the midst of a divorce or a high conflict co- parenting relationship for the shared calendar capabilities. If your kids are in extracurricular events or you simply wish to post your family’s vacation schedules, kids’ camps and activities so that grandparents and extended family members know when the soccer match or hockey playoff games are, this is a great app. In our fast-paced world, posting events on a calendar is more efficient and effective than calling everyone in the family that might be interested in attending.
- Talking Parents is also a free app, but with one catch: downloads cost you. This app allows a parent to track the “games” played by a dysfunctional ex who is trying to get a leg up. For example, if your ex posts when events are, but at the last minute changes the time or location of the event, this app tracks the change and the time posted. If your ex is always yanking your chain about being late or not knowing what is going on in your child’s life when your ex has his/her parenting time, this app will track and monitor the changes, alterations and/or deletions to the schedule made last minute, so that you can defend yourself on a Motion To Modify wherein your ex is claiming you don’t show up on time, you don’t show up at all
or worse, you simply are not involved in your child’s events.
- CoParenter is the most expensive option, but for a reason. For a $120.00 fee per year, you can have access to judges, attorneys and therapist on hand to try and resolve conflicts through text messaging with you and your ex in an attempt to resolve the conflict and avoid the need to go to Court. When you have a decent or better relationship with your co-parent, this can be a useful and effective tool to avoid ratcheting up conflict. Your co-parent must also be open to having individuals mediate your conflict, and must have a desire to resolve issues quickly and efficiently for this App to work.
- AppClose is free without any catches or additional costs. AppClose offers some of the tools that Our Family Wizard has, but not all of the features available through OFW. If you have a decent relationship with your ex or co-parent, this app offers you the ability to track expenses and post those accordingly. In addition, this app allows you to make payments to your co-parent and offers messaging between you and your ex, as well as a calendar function. This app is a very good tool to use if you have a good relationship with your ex, your ex has a mindset that everything is about the betterment of the kids you share and you do not have the need to document, document, and document some more.
Keep in mind there is not an App that allows you to be with your kids when they are with your co-parent. There is a reason your ex is an ex. However, these apps can streamline the communications between you and your ex to help everyone be more aware of events, expenses, and opportunities to support your children. Having and using one of the apps available for blended families can simplify and regulate communications, so that the focus is on the children and not the dysfunctional aspects of your ex that caused your relationship to end.