Communication, Technology and Child Custody

An issue that arises frequently in child custody cases is one of poor communication. Frequently, one or both parties will forego or limit communication, or there will be a great deal of extremely negative, aggressive messages. These messages are presented to court, and all too often, a party will deny or delete those messages.  Negativity can arise over everything from a failure to coordinate calendar issues to passing along school information.

Happily, with the advent of smartphones, there are technologicals solution for parents who want to make the most of their communications while co-parenting. There are apps which have undeletable messaging, a calendar and document transfer protocols. The best I've seen is My Family Wizard, a service which requires an annual fee, but has a great deal of functionality.

My Family Wizard -  

  • A shared calendar to document shared parenting time schedules, activities for the kids, and family holidays. The OurFamilyWizard mobile calendar also allows parents to propose and accurately document parenting time trades without interrupting the regular flow of the parenting schedule.
  • A private message board which separates co-parenting conversations from regular email or text messaging. All messages are stored indefinitely and time-stamped with when they are sent as well as first viewed. Co-parents can be confident that all of their correspondence is documented in a safe place and won't be lost among unrelated messages.
  • Expense registers allow parents to document what they spend on their kids as soon as they walk out of the store. Categories break up expense totals based on responsibility, and receipt files can be uploaded with individual reimbursement requests so that both parents know exactly how much was spend and when.
  • OFWpayTM gives co-parents mobile access to the best payment system for reimbursing each other. Parents' individual OFWpayTM accounts are linked together allowing for payments to be easily sent and received in the correct amounts and to the correct accounts. When payments are made, the family's expense register subsequently updates paid expenses and calculates any remaining balances.
  • Access to family vital information from anywhere. Co-parents can upload details such as their children's clothing sizes, lists of allergies, school schedules, babysitter contact information, and so much more. Having all of this information on hand is best so that parents are never caught off guard in a moment where they find themselves needing their child's information fast.
  • Journals let both parents create entries about anything they feel needs documenting. Entries may include details about the child's daily diet, notes about a late pickup or drop off, or even a recap of a child's winning goal at their recent soccer match. Journal entries can be shared between parents, or they can be saved as private entries that are only viewable to their author.
  • Notifications from the OFW mobile app are the best way for co-parents to stay informed about new activity.
  • Everything posted on the OFW mobile app is also available when logged in from a computer, so co-parents can easily access their accounts from whatever device they are currently using.

Apps such as these can help diminish stress in the coparenting relationship, and lead to less court time on child custody issues.

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