Having your child's other parent in a different household is already difficult, so finding ways to make it simpler can feel like a breath of fresh air. Even something as simple as an app can help ease some of the tension among parents. Co-parenting apps can help you and your ex to work together as a team.
They allow you to share information about your children, make specific plans, and share important documents so both of you have access to what your child needs. They can also be useful if you have a long-distance relationship or if one other parent is traveling for work so they're still able to see what's going on. To offer you a little help, we've compiled some of the best co-parenting apps for you and the other parent to use effectively.
What to Look for in a Co-Parenting App
Finding the right co-parenting app is a lot like finding the right dating app. You need to know what you're looking for and then find it. Make a list of what you and the other parent discuss on a regular basis that could be shared on an app. For example, if you share scheduling documents, school report cards, and other important materials, that may be one of the benefits you're looking for.
Here are some things to look for in a co-parenting app:
- Secure: Your first priority is security. If you're using an app to talk about sensitive topics like finances, child support, and access to your children, it's essential that you feel confident that your conversations are private. You don't want spammers getting into your personal information.
- Private: Even if you choose an app with encryption, check the fine print and be sure it doesn't allow third parties access to any information about your account or communications. Think carefully about whether you want location sharing or other features that could compromise privacy.
- Easy to use: Do you want something simple and straightforward or something more complex? Will there be a learning curve? How much time do you have to spend on setup?
- Safe for kids: If your children will be using this app too, be sure it's safe for them (and their friends) to use without compromising their privacy or safety.
Best App Overall Co-Parenting App: Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard claims to be the #1 app for co-parenting, and it's actually been listed as one of the top apps by family lawyers for effective co-parenting. It's also a court-approved app. The app's parent company, Avirant, also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and it has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on the App store and a solid 4-star average from Google Play store.
This app offers the following features:
- Secure messaging: Send and receive messages that cannot be deleted, edited, or unsent. An additional feature, called Tonemaster, also assists you with understanding if your tone of voice is appropriate.
- Calendar: Share important appointments, dance recitals, concerts, and more with the calendar feature.
- Expenses: Track expenses for proof of payment history to reduce conflict.
- Info Bank: All important information, including medical history, academic contact, among other pertinent need-to-know details, can be added here.
- Journal: Allows you to check-in during drop-off and pickup as well as share crucial memories with the other parent.
All in all, this app can be incredibly helpful for your co-parenting needs. There are two plan options available: essentials and premium. The current cost of essentials is $12/month with premium costing slightly more at $17/month. The premium version provides you with notarized copies of documents, provides additional storage for photographs, and allows you to send payments to the other parent.
|Approved by most courts||Can be time-consuming to use|
|Offers 30-day trial||Parents who aren't tech-savvy may experience difficulty using the app|
|Free for low-income or military families|
|Can help you and the co-parent remain organized|
|Share important documents with the co-parent|
Best App for Tracking Shared Parenting Expenses: Onward
If you're looking for an app to track and split expenses with the other parent, Onward may be just what you're looking for. Don't just take our word for it: take a look at the reviews parents have submitted. Onward gets a 4.6 out of 5 average on the App Store and a 4 out of 5 average on Google Play. Positive reviews comment on the ease of use and reliability:
- "This app has totally changed the way me and my co-parent handle and talk about expenses."
- "I was looking for an app that was reliable, intuitive, and easy to implement."
- "Just wanted to thank you for creating such a great app. My ex and I have been using it and it has simplified this part of our co-parenting greatly!"
This app offers the following features:
- Expense share: Allows one parent to submit the cost of a certain item and share what the co-parent owes.
- Receipt storage: Receipts are stored in the app so each parent can verify the claimed purchase.
- Notifications: Sends notification when an expense has been paid by the other parent.
- Reports: Shares reports detailing how much was spent on the child each month along with the amount of time, on average, it takes the other parent to pay their portion.
Onward costs $9.99 per month with no hidden fees. If you and the co-parent need help managing your child's expenses, this could be for you.
|Organizes expenses for both parents to view||Does not provide significant communication with the other parent|
|Offers 30-day free trial||Could cause conflict if the other parent visually sees how long it takes the other parent to make a payment|
|Handles expense-related communication|
Payments need to be made to your co-parent using a third-party tool like Venmo or CashApp.
Best App to Understand the Parenting Plan: Custody X Change
Custody X Change has shared calendars, along with the ability to communicate with the other parent. Additional features include:
- Calendar: Create and share your shared parenting calendar
- Parenting Plan: Access to an agreed-upon parenting plan that can become court-documented
- Concerns: Track any problems or issues that are encountered
- Court Use: May be used in mediation or in court
This app is available to both parents and legal professionals. There are two plan options with the ability to obtain a free trial for either. The silver version is $17/month and the gold version is $27/month. There are more features in the gold version for those who experience more difficulties with co-parenting.
The app gets 4.3 out of 5 stars on Review.io, with positive reviews commenting in the app's tracking and ease of use. Chris Barry, a high-conflict divorce coach, even left the following review about Custody X Change:
"It's a very thorough platform that pretty much covers everything, and can save people thousands of dollars in legal fees. It also lets our clients make it easier for the (overburdened) judge, custody evaluator, or any other professional involved in their case to take their side by making their job easier."
|Allows parents to be on the same page in regard to the parenting plan||Designing the schedule could be difficult|
|Accommodates any parenting plan court, or you, have put in place||Can be hard to create a parenting plan if there isn't an existing plan in place|
|Provides printable calendars|
|May be approved by some courts|
Free Co-Parenting Apps Worth Trying
If you're searching for some free co-parenting apps, check these out:
The free version of Cozi contains ads, but allows co-parents to access a family calendar, to-do lists, and the current day's agenda. This app has over 400,000 ratings on the Apple App store with a rating of 4.8 out of 5, so that's pretty impressive.
AppClose is a free app allows co-parents to access a shared calendar, communicate securely, and upload pertinent documents. Unlike many other apps, AppClose also offers audio and video calling and records every attempted, missed, and completed call. This app has been recommended by family law practices to show successful co-parenting to the court system.
Choose a Co-Parenting App That's Right for You
The app you choose depends on your specific needs. Take some time to write down your expectations for a co-parenting app. Talk to the other parent about each option to figure out which one has the features you need. If you're able to utilize a free co-parenting app effectively, it can be extremely helpful. If you need more advanced features, there are multiple apps to choose from there as well.