Even the most peaceful, polite divorce can be tough on children due to the rigors of two separate (and separated) parents managing multiple daily schedules. The time management and checks and balances that co-parenting requires could crush an otherwise organized individual. Add in any potential court mandates, and you’ve got a recipe for not only letting your kids down but also potentially losing custody of them. Luckily, the humble co-parenting app stepped in to fill the void of calendars, planners, and shady texts from ex-partners. The best free co-parenting apps and custody calendars can help by providing apps for divorced parents that engender positive communication and keep all child-related needs in one, easy to access place.
There are a number of excellent co-parenting apps for divorced parents, most of which handle the basics from tracking schedules and sharing photos to keeping records of all communications and run the gamut in price points from free to, well, not so free. Here’s a look at some of the best co-parenting apps to help you keep everything handled.
With an interactive calendar primed for sharing and synchronization so parents can eliminate scheduling conflicts, 2Houses also features an information bank for easily forgettable (and valuable) details about your children (social security numbers, blood types, clothing sizes.) There’s also a financial management system to help you keep tabs on shared expenses and account balances. You can even archive and print out all of your communications with your co-parent, your children, or your mediator (none of which can be deleted).
Coparenter goes well beyond the basics of scheduling features. Secure, non-trackable notifications are sent to co-parents for all pick-ups and drop-offs of the kids. Smart filters catch any language that might be deemed “inappropriate” and give you the chance to catch your breath and choose your words wisely before firing off a fiery message. The company also offers an “on-demand coParenter professional” for mediating and resolving disputes, drafting agreements, and better organizing schedules. An impending update will soon allow you to track and transfer money.
AppClose is super useful even for those not using the app itself. The AppClose Solo feature allows users to send requests or events to non-app-connected co-parents, childcare providers, lawyers, other family members or third parties via text, email, or social media. Submit a request and be notified immediately as to whether it was approved, declined, or paid through the built-in payment solution “ipayou.” AppClose also makes it super easy to scan receipts, attach documents, and keep records of all un-deletable communications concerning your children.
If making lists is your preferred method for organizing, Cozi has certainly got you covered. Create shared to-do, honey-do, shopping, or chore lists (for the kids) and share them on a calendar that family members can access via nearly any desktop or mobile device. Cozi plays well with other calendar programs like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal. There’s also a place for recipes for favorite meals, but you don’t need to let your Seamless app know about that.
Talking Parents is all business and heavily emphasizes the need for clear and respectful communication between co-parents and professionals (judges, lawyers, mediators, or any court-appointed guardians). Like competitor apps, communication records can’t be deleted, tampered with, or lost, but they can be efficiently, coherently, and chronologically organized. So that way you won’t ever have to worry about your lawyer shuffling through messy stacks of papers and printouts of screen grabs. No spam, junk, or off-topic distractions make Talking Parents a no-nonsense platform to get the co-parenting job done.
Co-parenting apps excel at keeping you on point from one day to the next, but often, it helps to have a more macro view from above. Fayr creates a monthly parenting report with stats that track, “your custody, your engagement with documentation, and even your message response time.” In addition, you’ve got all the usual suspects in a time-sharing calendar, messaging with easily accessible records, thoroughly organized expenses, a geo-location log with GPS-verified location check-ins at precise times and dates, a private journal for photos, and a file vault for uploading important documents.
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard keeps your visitation schedule, expenses, and communication contained within one app so that custody issues can be solved all in one place. It has an in-app calendar where you can put things like doctor’s appointments, and parenting drop-offs down for clear communication, a secure message board that keeps a record of all text communication between parents that can never be edited, deleted, or retracted and in one place, a check-in function so that your co-parent can know where you are with your child, an expense log for day care fees and other financial obligations. The app also has an “Info Bank” where co-parents can input medications, immunizations, medical history, emergency contacts, and school schedules, minimizing room for conflict around important information. One interesting gadget? ToneMeter, a tool that reads over your messages before you send them and warns you if any of the language is “emotionally charged” — giving you the opportunity to tone down any potentially angry missives. OFW has waivers for families in need financially and has been court-approved since 2001.
This sequel Alimentor 2 is all about getting granular with your data and maintaining equal accountability. No-shows and withheld visitations are always an unfortunate possibility, so instead of deleting events that should have (but didn’t happen), you can mark them as canceled instead. Then you can view reports on planned parenting time (based on the custody schedule) and the actual time you spent with your child. If there’s an instance in which one parent didn’t follow the agreed-upon plan, you have the ability to raise a “disagreement flag” and document your issue.