If parenting can be hard, parenting after a separation can be exponentially harder.
To do it well, take advantage of all the help you can get. One form of help available to you is a co-parenting app.
Co-Parenting Apps for Managing Schedules and Communication
These apps let you:
- Create your ideal changeover calendar, check it easily and make adjustments as necessary.
- Store digital files — e.g. report cards, work schedules, receipts — and share them with your co-parent.
- Message your co-parent.
Certain co-parenting apps let you go beyond those tasks, with tools to help parents document agreements, track expenses, and more.
At the end of the day, these apps help parents work together from a distance, and they promote civility.
Given all this, the dilemma often isn’t whether co-parents should use an app but which one they should use.
When it comes to co-parenting, one of the biggest challenges is managing schedules and ensuring effective communication between both parents. Luckily, there are several apps available in Australia that can help make this process much smoother and more efficient. Here are the most common co-parenting apps.
1. OurFamilyWizard: OurFamilyWizard is one of the most popular co-parenting apps available. It offers a wide range of features to help co-parents stay organized and in sync. With shared calendars, parents can easily schedule and coordinate activities, appointments, and visitation schedules. The app also has a messaging feature, which allows for direct and secure communication between both parents. Additionally, it provides a platform for tracking expenses and sharing important documents, such as medical records or school reports.
2. Cozi: Cozi is a versatile app that can be used for various purposes, including co-parenting. It offers a shared calendar feature, where both parents can add and edit events, activities, and appointments. The app also allows for creating to-do lists and sharing them with each other. This can be helpful for coordinating tasks related to the children’s needs or household responsibilities. Additionally, Cozi provides a messaging feature that enables easy communication between parents, eliminating the need for multiple phone calls or emails.
3. 2houses: 2houses is designed specifically for separated or divorced parents. It offers a range of features to help co-parents effectively manage their schedules and communicate. The shared calendar feature allows parents to create and share events, as well as assign tasks to each other. The app also has a messaging feature, which provides a secure platform for direct communication between parents. In addition, 2houses offers expense tracking and reimbursement options, helping parents keep track of shared costs and ensuring financial transparency.
4. TalkingParents: Communication is a crucial aspect of successful co-parenting, and TalkingParents is dedicated to facilitating effective communication between co-parents. This app offers a messaging feature that records and stores all conversations, providing a reliable record for future reference. It also allows for uploading and sharing important documents, such as legal agreements or school documents. With TalkingParents, co-parents can ensure clear and transparent communication, even if there is a history of conflict.
To help you choose, we’ve ranked our top six apps for separated parents in Australia. Here’s how they stack up.
Custody X Change
This online app walks you through topics you should discuss when planning for post-separation parenting. It lets you write your own provisions into your plan, as well as choose from common provisions — for example, “Neither parent will unreasonably question the child about the other parent.” It also offers templates for parenting schedules popular in Australia so you can quickly insert a schedule into your plan.
Once you agree on a parenting plan with your co-parent, you can opt to forgo court entirely, or you can formalize the plan by applying for a consent order. Consent orders have the same effect as a judicial officer’s decision after a trial.
Whichever path you choose, having a thorough parenting plan benefits you and your children, and we appreciate that Custody X Change simplifies the process of making one.
Another reason we like Custody X Change is because of its customizations for Australians. Once you choose your location, the app adjusts. Your parenting plan will include terminology preferred by Australian courts (like equal shared parental responsibility). Your calendar will suggest common ways to divide parenting time on the public holidays in your state or territory.
Another unique benefit of Custody X Change is that it calculates your planned parenting time for any time period. It also tracks your actual parenting time, which can be essential when the other parents doesn’t show up for changeovers as planned.
Install the app directly from the Custody X Change website. You can use it for free with some limitations. (So can your children, nanny, etc.). Subscriptions start at $97 USD a year or $17 a month.
Talking Parents is unique because of the options it offers parents who have combative or even dangerous relationships. We recommend it for parents who expect to go to family court in the future.
Premium subscribers can make video calls to their co-parent without disclosing their own phone number. Plus, these calls are automatically recorded and transcribed. Printing the transcript is an easy way to inform a lawyer or judge — and remind a co-parent — of what parents have discussed.
As a subscriber, you can also get an official record of everything you do in the app. Each document includes a code that verifies its authenticity, and neither parent can make changes. While these aren’t available by mail in Australia, they’re available in PDF format anywhere in the world. The documents get sent to your email.
U.S. users can also send payments to their co-parent through the Talking Parents app, so we hope this feature might be available in Australia someday soon.
You can use the Talking Parents website or — if you pay for a standard or premium plan — the app, which is available from major app stores. The premium subscription is $24.99 USD a month per person.
Keep in mind that unlike the other apps on this list, Talking Parents must be used by both parents. When you sign up, you enter the other parent’s contact information or send them an invitation yourself.
Need some information that relates to your circumstance?
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard is another strong option for separated parents. One advantage is that it has a large team doing outreach to courts and legal professionals around the world, so your lawyer, mediator or judge may know of it. That can be helpful if you have questions about how to use the app in your situation.
One of Our Family Wizard’s best features is its journal tool. It’s slightly different from the journals Custody X Change and Talking Parents offer because it has two types of entries: check-ins and moments.
Check-ins use GPS to verify your arrival at changeovers or other places you’re supposed to be.
Moments are ideal for telling the other parent (or grandparents, etc.) what the kids did that day. You can share “moment” journal entries with anyone you want and add photos.
As with journals from other co-parenting apps, you can always keep entries private for your own reference or to prepare evidence for court.
Our Family Wizard is in app stores and starts at $144 USD a year, with more expensive packages also available. You can pay extra to add features. While this app doesn’t have a free option for parents, it does let your children and other family members have a free limited-use account.
Getting parents to use an app together is always ideal — it fosters cooperation and can help them agree more quickly. We like that when one parent pays for a WeParent account, the other gets an account for free. This can encourage a hesitant co-parent to use an app.
Keep in mind that WeParent doesn’t have as many features as other co-parenting apps. For instance, it doesn’t include a private parenting journal or a dedicated space to share your child’s information (e.g., account numbers, clothing sizes), which the apps above do. But it does have many tools that are standard in apps for separated parents, like calendars, messaging, and file storage.
Download WeParent from your app store. Subscriptions are $9.99 USD per month, $99.99 USD per year or $199.99 USD for a lifetime.
Here’s a word that co-parents everywhere will like: free. AppClose is currently free to parents, though it does charge transaction fees for sending payments through the app (e.g., to reimburse the other parent).
One especially nice feature is the ability to send information from the app to people who don’t use AppClose or who aren’t connected to you on it. Even if they deny your request to give them information, you’ll have documentation of your attempt to reach them. This can prove useful in court.
AppClose is available in the major app stores, and it currently has a 4.7 out of 5 rating in the Apple store.
Coparently is technically a website, not an app. Regardless, it’s the only co-parenting tool on this list offering a 30-day free trial. (The others listed give either a 30-day money-back guarantee or a 14-day trial.)
Coparently’s trial doesn’t even require credit card information, so it’s great for the commitment-wary parent.
If you like what you see during the trial, you can sign up at $9.99 USD a month or $99 USD a year.
Although the tool lacks a parenting journal and child information centre, it does let you track expenses (as do Custody X Change, Our Family Wizard, and AppClose).
Thinking about separation or divorce?
Pick the right Co-Parenting app for your Family
With many options to choose from, stay focused on which co-parenting app fits your family’s situation. Talk the options over with your ex since these apps work great as tools for parent collaboration.
All of the apps mentioned here offer free trials or money-back guarantees, so don’t be afraid to test them out.
You can even use more than one app if that’s what works best for you. You may want, for example, to use Custody X Change to create a parenting plan early on in your separation. Then you might need to use Talking Parents to transcribe calls if heated disputes arise.
If you love a tool but wish it had a different feature, reach out to the app creator through their app or website. Many of these are small companies whose leaders got into the business because they care about healthy parenting, so you’ll likely find that they’re responsive and helpful.
Financial Planning and Management Apps
Managing finances can be a major concern for separated parents, but luckily, there are several apps available in Australia that can help with financial planning and management. These apps can streamline the process of tracking expenses, managing budgets, and ensuring transparency in financial matters between co-parents.
1. Mint: Mint is a popular financial planning app that can be useful for separated parents. It allows you to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and bills all in one place. With Mint, you can easily track your income and expenses, create budgets, and set financial goals. This app can help you stay on top of your finances and make informed decisions about your money.
2. PocketSmith: PocketSmith is another powerful app that can assist with financial planning and management. It provides you with a comprehensive overview of your finances, including income, expenses, and savings. You can track your spending patterns, set savings goals, and create budgets tailored to your needs. PocketSmith also allows you to project your future finances, which can be helpful when planning for long-term expenses or savings.
3. Splitwise: Splitwise is a handy app for managing shared expenses between co-parents. It allows you to easily track who owes what and simplifies the process of splitting bills, groceries, and other shared costs. With Splitwise, you can create groups for different expenses, set reminders for payments, and generate reports to keep track of your spending. This app can help promote transparency and fairness in financial matters between co-parents.
4. Goodbudget: Goodbudget is a budgeting app that uses the envelope system to help you manage your finances. You can allocate funds to different categories, such as groceries, child support, or entertainment, and track your spending accordingly. Goodbudget allows you to sync your budget across multiple devices and share it with your former partner, making it easy to collaborate on financial planning and management.
5. Acorns: Acorns is an investment app that can help you grow your savings over time. It rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change for you. Acorns offers a range of investment portfolios suited to different risk levels and allows you to set financial goals for yourself. This app can be a useful tool for building savings for future expenses or for your children’s education.
These financial planning and management apps can simplify the process of tracking expenses, managing budgets, and ensuring transparency in financial matters between separated parents. By utilizing these apps, you can take control of your finances and make informed decisions for the well-being of your family. Remember, each app offers unique features, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Apps for Keeping Important Documents Organized
As a separated parent, you have a lot of important documents to keep track of, from legal agreements to medical records and school reports. Staying organized and having easy access to these documents is crucial for effective co-parenting. Thankfully, there are apps available in Australia that can help you keep all your important documents organized in one place.
One such app is Evernote. This versatile app allows you to create digital notes and store documents, photos, and audio recordings. You can easily categorize your notes and documents into different notebooks or tags, making it simple to find what you need. Evernote also offers a powerful search feature, so you can quickly locate specific documents or information. Additionally, you can access your notes and documents from any device with an internet connection, ensuring that you always have your important documents at your fingertips.
Another helpful app for organizing documents is Dropbox. This cloud storage app allows you to securely store and share your documents with ease. You can create folders and subfolders to organize your documents based on categories or dates. Dropbox also offers a search function, so you can quickly locate specific files. One of the great features of Dropbox is that you can invite your former partner to collaborate on shared documents, such as school calendars or medical records. This promotes transparency and ensures that both parents have access to important information.
For parents who prefer a more comprehensive solution, the app Family Sharing Organizer can be a great choice. This app not only allows you to organize and store documents, but also provides a platform for managing schedules, tracking expenses, and communicating with your former partner. You can create a digital library to store all your important documents, such as custody agreements, school records, and medical information. The app also offers a search function, making it easy to find specific documents when you need them. Family Sharing Organizer promotes co-parenting collaboration and ensures that both parents have access to important documents and information.
Keeping your important documents organized is essential for effective co-parenting. By utilizing apps like Evernote, Dropbox, or Family Sharing Organizer, you can have peace of mind knowing that all your documents are securely stored and easily accessible. Take advantage of these technological tools to simplify the process of managing important documents and ensure smooth communication between co-parents. With these apps, you can focus on what matters most – providing the best possible future for your children.
Connecting with Support Groups and Resources for Separated Parents in Australia
Navigating a separation can often feel isolating, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are numerous support groups and resources available in Australia to help separated parents through this challenging time. Connecting with these support networks can provide you with the guidance, understanding, and encouragement you need to navigate the separation process.
One valuable resource is the Relationships Australia website, which offers a wealth of information and resources for separated parents. They provide advice on co-parenting, child support, legal options, and more. The website also has a directory of local Relationships Australia centers, where you can find support services and workshops specifically designed for separated parents.
Beyond the internet, support groups offer an invaluable opportunity to connect with others who are going through or have been through similar experiences. The Divorce and Separation Support Group on Meetup.com is a great platform to find local support groups in your area. These groups provide a safe and confidential space to share your struggles, learn from others, and gain emotional support. Meeting face-to-face with others who understand your challenges can be incredibly empowering and comforting.
If you prefer the convenience of online support, online forums and communities dedicated to separated parents can provide a wealth of knowledge and support. Websites like the Aussie Divorce forum or Single Mums Downunder offer a platform for individuals to share their stories, ask questions, and provide advice to one another. Engaging with these online communities can help you feel less alone and provide practical tips from those who have gone through similar situations.
It’s also worth reaching out to your local community centers, churches, or other non-profit organizations that offer support for separated parents. These organizations often host support groups, workshops, and counseling services to help you navigate the challenges of co-parenting and the emotional stress that comes with it.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of seeking professional help. Therapists and counselors specializing in separation and divorce can provide valuable guidance and emotional support. They can help you process your feelings, develop coping strategies, and provide tools to navigate co-parenting successfully.
Remember, connecting with support groups and resources is an important step in the healing process. You don’t have to face this challenging time alone. Reach out to the support networks available to you, both online and offline, and take advantage of the guidance, understanding, and encouragement they offer. By connecting with others who understand your journey, you can find the strength and resilience to move forward and create a positive future for yourself and your family.
What Should You Do Now?
At Mediations Australia, we have a team of family lawyers and mediators who can assist you in Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and all other locations in Australia. We also do international family law matters.