Whether you are going through a mediation successfully or are part of a contentious custody matter in New Mexico, moving into your post-divorce life can seem very chaotic. There are a lot of unknowns, and that makes it hard to keep the same sense of control you had before your proceeding started. However, when it comes to communicating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or partner, you do have a known history to pull from to help avoid some hurdles that are likely to pop up.
There are many co-parenting apps you can use for communication about your kids post-divorce or separation, but it’s important that you pick the right one. Consider the questions below before you pick what type of app to use.
How Did You Communicate When You Were Together?
Looking at the habits you and your co-parent had when you were still together will shed some light on where you might need more support going forward. For example, if you were the one who got the kids where they needed to be most of the time and you now have split parenting time with your ex, look at apps that have a strong set of tools for scheduling. For child bills and expenses, think about how well you handled bills together. If it went smoothly, an app with a simple shared expenses component will do. However, if expenses were confusing with many last-minute payments, you’ll want an app that has a clear structure for expenses.
Consider the division of labor, so to speak, in the past between you and your co-parent and where the weak spots were in how you communicated on a daily basis. The combination of both these areas will help you determine which app features are the most crucial in your case.
Was the Breakup High-Conflict?
Going from a high-conflict breakup to co-parenting is a tough transition. Phone calls, texts and emails can become minefields, so you want an app that has a strong communication component with safeguards built in to help stem off miscommunication and conflict. Check with the apps you’re considering for answers to the following questions:
• Is the first view of a parent opening a message recorded?
• Can parents delete or edit message histories?
• Are login histories accessible?
• Can information be backdated? For example, can a parent create a past event but make it look as if they shared the information with their co-parent beforehand?
• Can parents edit or delete each other’s messages?
You may need to contact customer support to get these answers, but they will help you weed out apps that lack the safeguards you’ll need in place.
Is Your Schedule Busy?
If you had a complicated family schedule before the breakup, it’s not going to get any better when parenting is happening across two houses. In this situation, an app with a comprehensive shared calendar system is necessary. In general, the calendar tool should be easy to follow and use, and it should have tools for parenting time scheduling exceptions such as school vacations and holidays. Additional features to look for include detailed event templates so you and your co-parent can share information with each other easily and the ability to color-code drop-off and pick-up responsibilities.
Once you consider the answers to the questions above, you should have a much clearer idea of what type of co-parenting app you need. Check with your attorney to find out what apps the Courts depend on in your county. Whichever app you decide to go with, give yourself some time to get used to it and how it will change your communication with your co-parent. Over time, the app should make things easier for you and your co-parent.