By Gianna Huesch
Managing communication and information sharing across two homes? These apps for separated parents can help. For family law advice, call us on (02) 6223 2400.
Effective communication between co-parents following separation or divorce is essential for the wellbeing of the children. It’s important that parents can engage in consistent, clear and conflict-free communication regarding all child-related issues, but due to the emotions involved in relationship breakdowns, this is sometimes easier said than done. Parents may be experiencing anger, grief, hostility or difficulties dealing with high-conflict exes and yet it’s unavoidable that parenting and financial issues must continue to be resolved into the future.
Parents being able to communicate civilly and practically is also considered by the family courts when they intervene to work out parenting arrangements that will be in the child’s best interests. In particular, parents must not use children as the “messenger” or expose them to the adult issues and conflicts, because this can have serious long-term consequences for the children’s emotional health. Instead, experts say the aim of parents should be shield the children as much as possible from the effects of the separation or divorce and prevent them witnessing arguments over parenting issues.
Conflict can be exacerbated if parents feel they are being ‘kept in the dark’ about significant issues–or even apparently trivial ones that still contribute to a parent’s complete understanding of their child’s life. On the other hand, generous information sharing can also contribute to improving the relationship between children and their non-custodial parent, by keeping their parent informed of information about social activities or school life, etc.
Sometimes, even when communication is initially fraught with problems, the situation will improve over time. But when you’re in the thick of it, anything that can help with sharing information in a civil way will make things easier.
Traditionally, separated and divorced parents who have trouble communicating amicably would make use of a “Communication Book”, a physical document like an exercise book that is passed between the parents at changeovers, containing written communications and information of relevance regarding the children. But a physical book can be lost or damaged, or simply not handed over. It may even be read by the children, which can be less than ideal. In this day and age, the use of apps for separated parents that can be accessed on any kind of smart device makes life a lot easier for everyone and removes emotion from the equation.
Parents simply download a purpose-built app which streamlines the communication process and enables sharing information about time arrangements, appointments, issues such as illness or injury, and school and social issues.
There are numerous apps for separated parents available for both Apple and Android devices. Here are some of the apps that many parents find useful to manage their communication and information sharing needs. Some of the apps for separated parents offer a free trial period so that you can see if they work well for your family situation, so there’s nothing to lose by giving them a test run.
This Australian app provides all the features you need to manage children across two homes and boasts features such as a messaging function which prompts the user to review messages before hitting send, which can provide an opportunity to prevent abusive communication being sent.
The eCommBook app has the added functionality of securely storing dates, times and geolocations of communications. This stored metadata can be downloaded as a detailed log and used in court proceedings if necessary, for example to prove breaches of domestic violence orders. The app developers believe that the fact that metadata is stored could even act as a preventative factor in discouraging abusive communication, preventing abusive exes using the need for communication about the children as an avenue to continue abuse.
This is another Australian-based app which is a safe and secure shared diary with features specifically for the children to use. Added features include posting photos on a virtual fridge and an inbuilt profanity filter.
Provides a shared parenting calendar, message board, info bank for sharing things like school schedules and medical information, and offers an expenses log for tracking child support, school fees, medical expenses, etc.
Manage custody and events on the calendar, share information about school schedules or children’s appointments, keep an expenses log, make to-do and shopping lists.
Enables scheduling and tracking and can also produce reports on expenses, time spent with parents, or children’s attendance at school.
This app has the usual features as well as enabling notifications to be sent to the other parent when info changes. It also allows for there to be more than one co-parent.
This app offers many of the usual features and also includes recipes and meal planners, and you can create lists such as grocery, chore and packing lists.
Read about our services in relation to children and parenting orders here.
Do you need family law advice? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.