Our Household Wizard App Assessment: Co-Parenting Communications
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Divorce can be the end of your marriage, but not the end of your relationship with your child’s other parents. Far from it. You will be connected at least until your child graduates from high school, most likely through college, and then likely well beyond. That means you have a lot to talk about and communicating about common parenting is key.
Believe it or not, many families do just fine. They know that communication is key to solving the most common parenting challenges. They adapt their communication under one roof to their new situation and just move on. Your regular emails, texts and calendars work great.
For others, it’s not that easy. The divorce will likely have exacerbated any existing barriers to communication. Using your regular email and texts becomes messy and unreliable. You think you envision things when events disappear from the shared Google Calendar and you disagree on so many things that you know you will go back to court.
Then you need a so-called “third-party communication platform” or a co-parenting app. This is a platform or app that allows you and your child’s other parents to communicate about parenting issues and have all of those communications in one place. This makes it easier to track issues and no messages are lost. It can eliminate the debates he said / she said
One of the leading and most established third-party communication platforms is Our family magician. They have been in business for over 20 years and are recognized by many judicial districts in the United States. You are certainly not the only provider. If you are looking for a co-parenting app, I recommend comparing its features with this one and using that one to make a list of pros and cons for your situation as it is better to do that right the first time Make the right choice and save yourself the pain and hassle of switching platforms.
Essential functions for communication between parents
Here are the key features in the OFW co-parenting app
- Communication – provides messages between you and your child’s other parent
- Calendar – Provides a calendar for setting up parental schedules, child activities, and appointments
- Allocation of Expenses – Mechanism for requesting reimbursement of expenses related to children
- Info Bank – place where all important information for your child is stored
- Journal – a place to keep track of important moments and check-ins
These are all useful in any common parenting situation. As I said before, even if you have an average cooperative relationship with your ex, you may not need all of these or you may be able to manage them using tools that are available, like your email. You may even have used a shared Google or Outlook calendar before your divorce.
As you near the conflicted end of the parenting spectrum, these features are all essential. Using an application that has all of these features in one place will save you time, avoid misunderstandings and help keep your relationship with your coparent alive.
How do you know if you are in conflict? See here … And remember, parallel parenting doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Our family assistant’s co-parenting app gives you the opportunity to send messages to each other. You choose whether to receive these messages in real time or in digest form. The advantage of the digest is that interruptions are minimized and you can set a specific time to review the messages once a day.
Typically, parents agree to use OFW for all non-emergency communications and can text or email the other party in an emergency. Emergencies are, for example, any news about your child’s health that cannot wait 24 hours, or any news related to a parent exchange that is happening in the next 24 hours.
OFW offers an optional add-on for a “ToneMeter ™” that scans the message as it is typed and gives you feedback on rephrase so that it is less likely to trigger a response. The ToneMeter ™ will not prevent you from sending your message as you wrote it, nor will the recipient see the feedback from the tone indicator. It’s there to coach you toward communication that your ex won’t trigger.
A major benefit of using a third-party parent communication app is that unlike regular email, these messages are completely recorded. They cannot be changed or deleted. This means that if you and your ex come back on an issue of parenting, an official record can be drawn up and taken to court. I cannot emphasize this advantage for parents in the conflict area enough.
OFW co-parent calendar
As expected, the OFW platform offers a common co-parenting calendar with an integrated calendar for holidays. This means that you can create the regular parenting schedule with different colors for each parent so that you can see your parental leave at a glance.
I would also add your child’s appointments such as B. Doctor, dentist, parent-teacher conferences and activities such as football training and choir concerts. If you do, your ex won’t have to send you a message telling you the time of an event. You can train them to reference the app.
Conflicts with parental leave are inevitable, so there is a function with which you can ask the other parent to swap parental leave. The other parent did not accept the request. If the request is accepted, the calendar will be updated. These communications are also recorded.
One feature that I really like is that you can give other people such as your child, grandparents and / or caregivers access to the calendar. It is always helpful for young children to post a physical calendar so they can see where they will be and when. The sharing of this digital calendar is an update from. This means that your child can check their schedule at any time. Sharing with a caregiver is also important when the caregiver is helping to transport your child to activities.
In my experience, having to claim reimbursement for child-related expenses cannot be avoided. How these are to be shared should be on your parenting plan, but you will inevitably have to pay the full cost of something and then ask your ex to repay you. With our parenting app for family assistants, you can easily take a photo of the receipt and request payment of the amount owed.
You can pay via another platform such as Venmo via the app or outside the app. You can then mark the expense as reimbursed. And if you disagree that you have to share the cost, you can opt out.
There is again a record of all inquiries and solutions that should be helpful in handling future disputes.
OFW Info Bank
Divorced or not, having a central repository of important information about your child helps. It stores messages for the other parent. When communications are overloaded, the more you can do to reduce messages, the more you will do to manage the conflict.
In the OFW Infobank you can save the contact details of your child’s doctors, insurance coverage, medication, trainers, etc. You can register it here. Again, you can give caregivers access to it so they always have the information at hand when they need it.
Another function of the OFW Coparenting App is the journal. For the more cooperative parents, this is a place to share memories, milestones, photos, and more.
The feature in the OFW journal that I think is most helpful, especially in high-conflict situations, is the check-ins. This allows you to record your arrival for parent sharing and other important places with a GPS verified login. Again, the record means that disputes about whether you were in a particular place at any given time are unlikely to be contested.
I said earlier that parents who find themselves in a high-conflict situation would be well advised to use a third-party communication app. So what makes a high conflict situation?
- If you have had a contested custody hearing. There may be or have been an investigation into the child’s family or an assessment of parental rights
- You will work with a parent coordinator / decision maker
- There is a protective order between you and the other parent of your child that limits your ability to communicate
Our family assistant is particularly helpful in these situations for two main reasons. First of all, you can add a professional account for free. For example, as your parenting coordinator, I can sign up and see the communication between you and your ex. It means that I am not relying on you or your ex to forward emails that might be selective. I see the whole picture.
Second, our family wizard who has been in the business for 20 years is known to the US courts. Many jurisdictions accept the detailed reports downloaded as real, accurate, and complete records. And if you’re in a country that doesn’t, OFW will provide certified copies.
OFW CO-Parenting App is affordable
Both you and your ex need to subscribe to OFW – it won’t work if only one of you subscribes. The cost starts at $ 99 per party per year. That’s only $ 8.25 per month. The optional ToneMeter ™ costs an additional $ 10. There are no fees for third party access such as your child, grandparents, or divorce professional.
If this seems expensive to you, think about it. If it even saves you an hour on your attorney’s bill settling a parent-exchange dispute or reimbursement, you are ahead of the game.
Discounts are available for military and multi-year subscriptions. There is also a fee waiver program for low-income parents.
Other important considerations are that OFW offers a 30 day money back guarantee and 24 hour live customer service.
Regardless of which third-party communications app you choose, it’s an investment that goes beyond the basic cost. I always need time to learn how to use all the features of a new app. Whichever app you choose, one of you will have to set the shared calendar. You can’t do that half-heartedly. If you try hard it will work for you. However, choosing the right app from the start will save you a lot of frustration.
If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like how technology can help you solve your most common parenting problems.
Photo by Elisabeth Wales on Unsplash