coParenter Featured Among 7 Apps That Make Divorce and Co-parenting Easier

coParenter Featured Among 7 Apps That Make Divorce and Co-parenting Easier

By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY


The end of summer brings with it a surge in another kind of ending. August is, sadly, one of those months when divorce filings spike.

For those going through a breakup, there can be a lot to manage, from emotions to expenses. And while tech doesn't have all the answers, it can help ease some of the strain, whether you are seeking legal counsel, sharing custody of the kids, or even still trying to get past the sting of a nasty breakup. 


These seven apps and web services represent a good sampling of the choices out there, though no option is likely to fit the bill for every divorce or if you have kids, co-parenting situation.


OurFamilyWizard

OurFamilyWizard lets you share a calendar with your ex and monitor child care.

OurFamilyWizard lets you share a calendar with your ex and monitor child care. (Photo: OurFamilyWizard)

OurFamilyWizard includes several potentially useful tools for parents raising kids separately together.

For example, you’ll find an interactive calendar that may help determine which parent gets the kids during the holidays, special occasions or whenever. 

Another is an expense log for tracking the costs you share – being able to reimburse the other when one parent takes the child to the doctor, for example. Parents can upload receipts and invoices and, in some circumstances, (for an added fee) make payments inside OurFamilyWizard.


There are other sections to store medical histories, insurance information, emergency contacts, and school schedules.

Parents can communicate with each other through a secure message board. And because you and your former partner may not exactly be civil to each other, a ToneMeter feature can flag emotionally charged language before you send off a message you may regret – think of it as kind of a spellchecking tool for exchanges that might get you in trouble. ToneMeter costs $10 per year, on the top of the $99 each parent pays for OurFamilyWizard on an annual basis. Discounts are available for active military families and veterans.


coParenter

coParenter app.

coParenter app. (Photo: coParenter)

Retired California Judge Sherrill A. Ellsworth is among those behind yet another co-parenting iOS and Android app, that aims to avoid conflict.

One coParenter feature lets a parent send a secure, non-trackable notification to the other parent, whenever picking up or dropping off the kids. Smart filters can help keep communications between the parties clean.

You can also make requests to the other parent directly inside the app to, say, swap weekends or alter other visitation plans. If the two of you can’t come to an agreement about that or much else, you can tap Get Help to summon live on-demand mediation or coaching.


Since you may have trouble getting your ex to agree to even join you in the app, a SoloMode option lets one parent take advantage of the available tools when the other has no interest in participating. Any messages then sent to that non-participating parent are dispatched from a separate SMS phone number.


AppClose 

AppClose features many of the tools found in other co-parenting apps, including the ability to manage parent-kid schedules, make pickup and dropoff requests and to send date-stamped real-time messages. The big difference is everything is free, at least for now. The fine print inside AppClose's terms of service leaves open the possibility that a paid version of the app could come.

CEO Igor Litinsky told USA TODAY that courts are ordering use of the app on a daily basis, and "we intend to maintain this model for the foreseeable future. Of course, we are not a charity. So we do have monetization plans, but they do not include charging co-parents to use the app or sell their information to third parties for marketing purposes. Without disclosing competitive information, we can say that these plans may include charging professionals who are part of the ecosystem."


SupportPay

The name gives it away. This automated platform is all about managing, tracking and paying child support and alimony. Though it helps to have both parents participate in the app, only one actually is required to do so. 

SupportPay’s pitch to the parent who receives child support is to show the other “just how expensive your children really are.” And part of the pitch to the paying spouse is that you can view receipts to see where the money is actually being spent, presumably for the kid.

Via the app, you’ll receive reminders and notifications that, as SupportPay puts it, you don’t have to add “pay my ex” to your to-do list.

There’s a free version of the app, but among its restrictions is a limit of uploading just two expenses per month. For unlimited expense entries and other benefits, you're looking at a premium annual rate of $19.99 a month per parent; reduced by $5 to $14.99 a month if you pay annually.


TalkingParents 

For most couples, it's a given that you and the ex won't always see eye-to-eye – and that can surely be said for couples that stay together, too. But in theory, anyway, you both have the kids' best interest at heart, so communication is key. 

Whether you are on amicable terms or not, TalkingParents records your exchange with a co-parent are time-stamped when you sent them and when the other person reads them and, if need be, are admissible in court.

You can also keep a personal journal with notes that won't be shared with your ex.

Though the service is free, a premium plan you’ll need for certain features, including the use of the iOS and Android apps, costs $4.99 a month, with added fees for downloading PDFs of conversations and other documents. 


Mend

A screen from the Mend app.


A screen from the Mend app. (Photo: Mend)

Founded by ex-Googler Elle Huerta following a breakup, Mend is billed as a “personal coach for the brokenhearted,” an app that might help you recover from the painful end of your relationship. When you first sign up, you give one reason for the breakup (infidelity, fell out of love, etc.), indicate the last time you had any contact with your ex, and go on from there. 

Huerta, who serves as the narrator through training sessions that cater to your circumstances, says about 20% of the Mend user base are divorced.

Training sessions tailored to such Menders include: “Rediscovering Yourself After A Divorce,” "Creating A United Front With Your Ex-Spouse,” and “How Do I Tell My Kids?”

Mend is also launching classes, including one about post-divorce finances. The company also arranges pricey travel retreats.

The iOS-only app – Android is in the works – is free and includes one audio training session. To continue training, you’ll have to subscribe at $19.99 a month, with cheaper monthly options if you pay quarterly or yearly.


Divorceify

Divorceify can recommend attorneys and therapists while you go through a divorce.

Divorceify can recommend attorneys and therapists while you go through a divorce. (Photo: Divorceify)

This web-based service provides a kind of GPS road map for divorce proceedings. Using predictive artificial intelligence and a human-like interface called Sonia, you’ll get matched with attorneys, therapists, and mediators who have been previously vetted. Though free for now, one of the co-founders Casey Shevin, says Divorceify may charge in the future for booking appointments or other services.

“Because divorce is so emotionally complex,” she says, “there will always be value in human wisdom and empathy; we believe that keeping a human in the loop is essential as technology streamlines the divorce process.”

What tech are you using to keep the peace, navigate the chaos and coordinate co-parenting? Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter



Article originally published on USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/07/24/7-divorce-apps-help-navigate-life-with-your-ex/1748032001/?utm_source=Taproot+Edmonton&utm_campaign=050f1d7eda-TAPROOTYEG_TECH_ROUNDUP_2019_07_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef1adf0932-050f1d7eda-211960065&mc_cid=050f1d7eda&mc_eid=b8f4e1ac14

Article shared on Taproot Edmonton Tech Roundup: https://mailchi.mp/taprootedmonton/tech-roundup-july-30-2019?e=b8f4e1ac14