Welcome back to our two-part blog reviewing Creative Financial Co-Parenting strategies. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 about financial co-parenting, be sure to check it out! The combination of co-parenting and finances can be a struggle for many, but it doesn’t have to be.
There are a wide variety of apps available which help support co-parenting communication. In addition, many of these apps offer expense management tools for co-parents as well!
Any and all co-parents are good candidates for using an app. For those who have a strenuous relationship, use of an app can be particularly helpful. I have personally used Our Family Wizard for the last 10 years. I have found it to be extremely helpful! Here are the details on Our Family Wizard as well as a few other, newer apps on the market today.
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard* is one of the original apps for co-parenting, and often the go-to for court-ordered use of a co-parenting communication tool. Their “Expense Log” feature is top-notch, tracking expenses, capturing receipts, and it creates a log with the math all done for you. They have an integrated electronic payment feature, OFWpayTM, though transaction fees apply. I personally use the expense tracking tool but I do not pay through the app. Our Family Wizard is $99 per year, per parent.
One of my favorite features on this app is the private journal function. If your co-parent is behaving badly, brings the kids home really late, doesn’t show up, puts your children in the middle, etc. you have a journal tool. I used to journal different examples of what I thought fit into the categories of “parent alienation” or “lack of co-parenting” or “disparaging remarks” and then write what happened which was date stamped. If I ever went back to court I could just send all the private journals to my lawyer over the years each with a brief summary of what happened which I wrote at the time.
I also love the calendar feature. I can easily log dentist appointments, doctor appointments, etc. The only thing I don’t like with their calendar feature is the inability to sync the OFW calendar to my personal google calendar. If may be an option, but I have not figured it out yet.
There are other features including a communication feature where all communication can go through the app, names of doctors, baby-sitters, or insurance information can also be shared here. It is a very helpful, robust tool. I’m so glad we have it written into our decree and mandated for use of expense tracking and the calendar. I cannot imagine all the years of bills and messages going through email and excel spreadsheets. If you are looking for a great resource to help with co-parenting and finances, this is a great one to check out.
One of our favorite co-parenting apps is AppClose, a FREE co-parenting app, currently without subscription fees or monthly charges. It offers a plethora of features helpful for co-parents. For expense management, I love the “Requests” feature, which allows parents to send, receive and approve child-related reimbursement requests. This will also create a record of expenses, which can be exported or printed for free. Wouldn’t that be handy at tax time? AppClose also has an integrated ipayouTM feature, which can facilitate money transfers between parents, though transfer fees do apply to this feature.
Another tool to consider is Coparently. This expenses tool supports logging of all shared expenses and payments that have been made. It will also allocate the percentage of contribution per parent, if the payment contributions are something other than 50/50. The app is $99 per year, per parent, or $9.99 per month, per parent, making it a great resource for anyone hoping to streamline the co-parenting and finances relationship.
Make It Work
There are many more co-parenting apps on the market, though not all have the financial tools included. Many of our clients have shared positive feedback about using an app – it’s wonderful that technology can lend a hand in co-parenting!
Do keep in mind that use of any of these apps still require basic agreements between parents as to what expenses will be shared outside of any child support paid. The apps don’t create or enforce the agreements, the simply help facilitate them.
Stay tuned for more blogs on co-parenting and finances before, during and after divorce. Give us a call at 281-210-0057 to learn how we can help divorcing parents.