Programs to Help Co-Parents Communicate
Divorce can be one of the most, if not the most, difficult time in the lives of the people going through it but their families as a whole. A main reason why this time is difficult for so many people is due to the inability to communicate with their soon to be former spouse. However, with the recent boom in application based technology there have been numerous programs available to help alleviate the stress and frustration that is often encountered when trying to obtain and receive information from the other parent. The benefit of using co-parenting applications are vast, and there are numerous different programs each with unique features that cater to the needs of the parents.
Over the next few weeks we will go through some of the available programs and what they entail. This week we will be focusing on OurFamilyWizard.
OurFamilyWizard (“OFW”) is quite possibly the most well-known and commonly used co-parenting application by separated or divorced parents who have children in common. The main features offered by OFW are as follows:
Shared Calendar: Within the application there are numerous features available, such as a global calendar wherein you can input your own personal commitments as well as those of the child or children. This allows for everyone to have the same calendar in front of them when scheduling events in the future. The calendar feature also allows parties to submit requests for changes in parenting time.
Message Board: The message board within the application is for more than just you and your former spouse to communicate through, it also allows for other family members, including the children, or even attorneys of the parents to send messages. The message board also keeps a log of all communications sent and received and the contents of which cannot be altered or deleted in any way. All of these communications are saved and are readily available to either print or download at any point.
Additionally, there is a really cool feature that is unique to the application called “ToneMeter.” This feature actually reviews your messages prior to sending them and will alert you if your message is too emotionally charged or aggressive and then provides you with suggestions as to how to edit the message to make it less confrontational. This feature is very crucial, and is one of the reasons OurFamilyWizard is widely used, because it strives to create the most amicable communication possible. We are also living in a day and age where our tone or emphasis on phrases or words could be misconstrued or misinterpreted, which this feature seeks to prevent. By now you have probably heard from your attorney or someone else that you shouldn’t write anything that you wouldn’t want a judge to read or introduce in court. The ToneMeter feature truly works to help prevent any regrettable messages from being sent.
Expense Log: The expense log allows for you to keep track of all parenting costs that you have incurred, such as co-pays for doctor appointments, money for school lunches, and even reminders for child support payments.
Journal: The journal allows you to keep a log of notes, thoughts, and the like within a central location that can be easily accessed at any moment.
Information Bank: The information bank is one of the most practical features available through OurFamilyWizard. It is a secure system within the application where it is encouraged that all relevant information about the parties and the child or children are located. This can range anywhere from basic information like allergies and emergency contacts to social security numbers and medication information.
Cost: As one would expect, these applications and the services they provide do not come at no cost. OFW has multiple subscription options ranging from a basic account to a one-year and two-year bundle account. Prices range from $99.00 to $219.97 per year and OFW offers a 30-day risk-free trial period in order to try out the application before committing to a subscription.
Co-parenting communication apps can make a real difference in separated or divorcing parents’ ability to communicate and stay organized while parenting from two separate households.