You made it amicably through your divorce. You reached a favorable agreement on visitation. You and your ex-wife are even on the same page regarding co-parenting, each of you sharing responsibilities for your children.
Only … she left you at Virginia Beach’s Tupelo Honey Cafe with the kids for a couple of hours because you forgot to check your messages, and then there was that time you stood in the shadow of the Norwegian Lady statue where you had agreed to meet to swap the kids. Only you were in Moss, Norway and she was in Virginia Beach because she never actually told you the meet-up was not in Norway. Hey, accidents happen, but with these four smart tools, co-parenting can be a breeze.
At first it sounds like you and your ex-wife are livin’ large, but really you are holding down two houses, and the 2Houses app helps you both, sharing control over features like:
- Organizing dual schedules
- Tracking children’s and adults’ activities
- Managing expenses in two households
- Exchanging medical, education and after-school information
- Assembling shopping lists to avoid duplicate purchases
- Storing documents both parents need
- To-do lists
These features are all available for mobile devices including iPhones and Android operating systems, and will also work on a plain ol’ laptop or PC. How does this help with co-parenting? Neither parent “owns” the information to “share” with the other. Both parents tap the same common storage and neither can exclude the other from any of the information.
2Houses prevents information hoarding and accidentally (or deliberately!) sabotaging the other parent by, for example, arranging the visitation handoff but then leaving you at Tupelo Honey Cafe for two unexpected hours working your way through eight Southern Small Plates because she all of a sudden just had to get the tires rotated, and she showing callous disregard for your waistline when she knows you have no willpower against Southern Seafood Tacos … but we digress.
Teenage driver? Check. Locate Little Lucy? Check. Message the kids’ Mom? Check. Life360 is an app that advertises itself as “the complete awareness program,” because it does all this:
- Driver protection, including crash detection, driver analysis, emergency response and 24/7 driver care support
- Family member detection on a private map — accurate to within a few feet, so no need to worry if Bubba is up on the boardwalk or down on the beach
- One-tap check-in — for older kids, maintain the coolness factor while reassuring Dad and ex-wife without having to actually talk to anyone
- Emergency alert button — send an SOS to other family members
- Automatic notifications for popular destinations — Bubba arrived at school; Lucy is home
- Chat feature – quick messages in real time so you do not, in fact, buy one of everything on the Tupelo Honey Cafe’s menu while waiting for her to take the brood
- Flexible group circles — Make a family circle, soccer team circle, babysitter circle, and so on
Price: $2.99/month or $24.99/year (but there’s a limited FREE version!)
Yes, the name is a bit awkward, but so is the reason for the Kidganizer app: you and your ex-wife do not communicate well face to face. Perhaps she is openly hostile; regardless, you still need to work out visitation schedules and kids’ events.
You two do not have to even speak to arrange custody dates; when one of you adds an event, it pops up on the other’s schedule, removing excuses and the opportunity for conflict. Faster than e-mails, less painful that telephone calls, all your contacts go on the app.
Other features allow you to track money, keep profiles on your children, extend invitations, and get alerts:
- Expenses — See what you each are spending, with included pictures of receipts; expenses can be grouped by child or see expenses for all children, and all the data can be archived with synchronization
- Family management — Create and modify children’s profiles to include vital information, add other members such as the babysitter, grandparents, or stepmother
- Alerts — Event reminders, notification that your ex-wife has changed the schedule, and archive-able alerts avoid “he said-she said” arguments
The makers of Custody Junction realized that time in a family is precious. Whether divorced or together, whether sharing custody or just getting visitation, your family is changing. The time you share should focus on quality and relationships, not navigating conflicts. Custody Junction makes quick work of:
- Scheduling — Like other apps, you and your ex-wife can schedule events and meet-ups
- Tracking — Like other apps, you can record the results of events and issues, eliminating conflict by accurately charting people, places, and possessions
- Reporting — UNlike any other app, Custody Junction can generate reports such as overnight visits, number of hours the children are with each parent, forfeited or denied parenting time, delinquent support payments and more
Most of these smart tools cost money to keep on your smartphone. Many start with free trials; sticking with could mean putting out a little cash each month. One free, low-tech tool we like is the Co-parenting Communication Guide published by the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (not Virginia, but helpful nonetheless!). It guides you through all the means of communication (and ways we avoid communication) between divorced parents.
We’re Custody & Visitation Attorneys for Fathers!
To discuss co-parenting, custody and visitation issues with an experienced attorney, contact us online or call The Firm For Men at (757) 383-9184. Our office is centrally located in Virginia Beach, and we’re proud to serve Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, and more! We welcome your questions and enjoy hearing what works for you, and what you like on the Tupelo Honey Cafe menu.