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Court-monitored communication? Get a co-parenting app

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Most people who use a co-parenting app do so because a judge ordered them to or because they’ve agreed to do so in divorce negotiations or family court mediation.

While the app may have come into your life in a negative context, co-parenting apps can make communication, finance, scheduling and parenting in general a better experience for your whole family. 

OurFamilyWizard is our top choice co-parenting app for court-monitored communication. Why?

  • Parent company Avirat has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Great user experience and seamless (or close to it) interface
  • Widely used and recognized by courts  
  • Competitive cost, with military discount, financial assistance, and money-back guarantee / 30-day free trial

Here is what you need to know court-monitored communication:

Court-monitored communication: What you need to know to protect yourself in court

Molly Rosenblum, owner and founding attorney of The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm in Las Vegas, says court-monitored communication provides a safeguard when you’re interacting with your former spouse

“Having all the communications in one place keeps it all there and avoids parents pointing fingers at each other,” Rosenblum says. 

She says using an app that both parties know is being monitored by a judge usually keeps everyone on their best behavior.

Co-parenting apps for court-monitored communication

Rosenblum says courts typically recommend co-parenting apps like Our Family Wizard and TalkingParents in high-conflict divorce cases. 

Judges and attorneys can access these apps to track communication between former spouses and use what was said in the event of a parental conflict. 

“We, as the attorneys, like that it keeps all communication in one place, which makes it easy to follow and eliminates a ton of wasted time trying to track down messages,” Rosenblum says. 

These are some other apps used for court-monitored communication: 

  • Whatsapp
  • coParenter
  • Custody X Change
  • 2Houses
  • Cozi
  • WeParent

Check out our full list of co-parenting apps here.

What are co-parenting apps and what do co-parenting apps do?

Co-parenting apps help you and your ex juggle the craziness that is parenthood: 

  • Equally shared parenting schedule, including vacation and summer schedules
  • Expenses
  • Contacts for babysitters, grandparents, friends, the pediatrician, nanny, etc. 
  • Extracurricular and random appointments, including dentist  appointments, school functions, sleepovers, music lessons, soccer games, parent-teacher conferences

Most apps for divorced parents to communicate are mobile-based, although some rely on website-based versions.

Why (and how) to use a co-parenting app for court-monitored communication

Rosenblum says there are a few reasons co-parenting apps are great for court-monitored communication: 

  • Keeps all communication in one place
  • Keeps track of communication threads about a particular subject
  • Tone meter (available on some apps like OurFamilyWizard) let the writer know when their communication is pushing a bad or aggressive tone
  • Eliminates “he said/she said”
  • Keeps communication civil since both parties know the app is monitored by a judge

A definitive list of 7 co-parenting boundaries you need to know

So how do co-parenting apps work for court-monitored communication? 

Both parents download the specified co-parenting app and create connected accounts. Judges and attorneys involved in the co-parenting agreement also have accounts to access and monitor the parents’ communication.

Whether you are using a co-parenting app by choice, the recommendation of your lawyer, or a court mandate, the same rules apply.

Using an app for co-parent communication is not just to comply with a custody agreement, but to actually get along with your ex — or at least to model respectful adult behavior for your kids, and minimize drama and conflict. Separation and divorce are tough, even if you were the one who initiated the split. Sometimes even basic, necessary communication feels like walking through a minefield.

Court-monitored communication tips

1. Be consistent. Do not use your iPhone’s text function. Stick to always communicating with your co-parent within the app. Likewise with scheduling: Do not send your ex a calendar invite to change the schedule from your iCalendar, but use the agreed-upon co-parenting app’s functions. Make a habit of always documenting any child expenses immediately, including taking photos of receipts. 

2. If you use an app like Our Family Wizard with a vault feature, scan and store important information like:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport (and, if need be, a letter authorizing you to travel abroad with the kids)
  • Information on allergies or dietary issues/restrictions and any medications your children take
  • Insurance card 

3. Be as helpful as you can and fill out contact information for people like coaches, doctors, teachers, school administrators, kids’ friends’ parents, babysitters and others — even if your co-parent does not reciprocate or thank you.

4. Do not add other people to the app without consulting with your other parent. For example, if you’d like to add your mom to the app to help with child care, but your ex and your mom have an ugly history, check with him first. Likewise, be practical and forgiving with your ex’s requests. 

5. Use the co-parenting app as a neutral tool — not a weapon. While most co-parenting apps allow you to download and export time-stamped communication, calendar and expense histories for court submission, do not threaten your ex with these consequences. Instead, focus on the benefits of using an app to reduce conflict, confusion and misunderstandings. Similarly, if things do get ugly, the facts will be on your side with minimum conflict. 

6. Respect your ex as an equal parent who’s just as responsible for your kids as you are. In other words, treat them the way you want to be treated: by staying in touch, and by sharing need-to-know info (“Kiddo had a fight with her best friend, so she might be feeling sad”).

7. Be nice. OurFamilyWizard's ToneMeter is a unique tool that points out that a text you just wrote (but have yet to send) may be nastier than you intended. Even if you are not using an app, keep language and tone neutral or positive. “Kids are due back at 7 o’clock – don’t be late again, dickhead,” should give way to, “See you guys at 7.”

Better yet, by using a co-parenting app consistently, you will no longer need to remind each other of schedules or appointments since you will each be accustomed to referencing the shared calendar first.

Co-parenting app features

Apps vary, of course. But some features are universal:

  • Calendar 
  • Communication / chat / text / messaging 
  • Expense tracking and request feature 
  • Requesting and tracking of schedule changes 
  • Storage for sharing documents and contacts 

Co-parent court-monitored communication 

Communication is central to successful co-parenting. If you’re still feeling raw about the split it can be hard even to look at your ex, let along talk with them. Yet you know it’s best for the kids if their parents get along.

Can’t talk in person without wanting to cry or rage? The app lets you say what needs to be said, such as “Parent-teacher conferences are coming up” or “The kids need flu shots.”

But don't stop there. Try actual communication. For example, you could message, “Do you think our son is ready for sleepaway camp?” 

And if you’re making a serious effort to be the best co-parent ever, send a well-done-you! note: “Glad you took the kids sledding – they can’t stop talking about how much fun it was.” OurFamilyWizard allows you to share a pic.

These kinds of messages will get you in the habit of talking to your ex. They’ll also remind you that you’re no longer a couple but you are co-parents.

Co-parent and shared parenting plans  

Some couples set up a parenting plan through their lawyers, and some create their own. Depending on how your separation and divorce shook down, you might be required to have regular check-ins with your ex, or even to take co-parenting classes online or parenting classes near me.

Whether you share 50-50 parenting time, or a 3-3-4-4 days, 2-2-5-5, 2-2-3 days, or the old every-other-weekend special, you can plug these parenting schedules into any of the co-parenting apps.

Often, a judge will mandate you use a co-parenting app to work with your ex, including using one like Our Family Wizard that allows you to create a PDF of text exchanges, a record of on-time or missed visitations and expense sharing.

7 benefits of parenting classes and where to find them

Co-parent and shared parenting schedules 

Once your plans are in the app everything will be easy, right? Riiiight. Life happens, and sometimes the unexpected, or honest miscommunication wrecks your carefully organized co-parenting schedules.

The co-parenting app makes it easier to plan and adjust. Suppose your 20th high school reunion is announced. You check the app and sure enough, you’ll have the kids that weekend. Plenty of time for the two of you to arrange a trade.

Or maybe you have to head to an industry conference in three months. As soon as you have the dates, check the app to see if you need to switch days with your ex. Many co-parenting apps have a function within the calendar to request a swap or trade, with the times of request and response being documented for future references.

Co-parent calendar

Drop-off and pick-up times, field trips, music lessons, the school play – goof-ups are a lot less likely when everything’s in one place. Even the most well-intentioned parent sometimes flakes out on a PTA meeting. Joint-custody schedules can help. When it’s on the shared child custody calendar, you and your ex can either negotiate who has to go this time, or agree to attend together — whether you have a 50/50 custody schedule, or something else.

The calendars can often be synced with personal calendars like iCal or Google Calendar. Generally, they can be shared with other people, too. That way, Grandma won’t miss the piano recital, and your babysitter will know what nights your ex will be picking up the children.

You can share the calendar with your kids, too.

Frequently asked questions about Our Family Wizard and court-monitored communication

Here are some common questions about OurFamilyWizard, one of the top apps for court-monitored communication:

Is OurFamilyWizard monitored?

If the court requires you to use OurFamilyWizard as part of your co-parenting agreement, professionals involved in your case (i.e. lawyers, judge) may be able to monitor your OurFamilyWizard account. 

Is OurFamilyWizard admissible in court?

OurFamilyWizard can be used in court if needed. The app records communications between parents on the app and makes it easier to share a calendar, documents, and important information.

Does OurFamilyWizard record phone calls?

No. OurFamilyWizard only records communications made directly through the app. These include:

  • Secure messaging 
  • Shared family calendar
  • Check-in journal
  • Shared memories
  • Expense log
  • File sharing

Try Our Family Wizard free for 30 days >>

Stop calling your kid all the time when they are with their dad

Is OurFamilyWizard monitored?

If the court requires you to use OurFamilyWizard as part of your co-parenting agreement, professionals involved in your case (i.e. lawyers, judge) may be able to monitor your OurFamilyWizard account.

Is OurFamilyWizard admissible in court?

OurFamilyWizard can be used in court if needed. The app records communications between parents on the app and makes it easier to share a calendar, documents, and important information.

Does OurFamilyWizard record phone calls?

No. OurFamilyWizard only records communications made directly through the app.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

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