Parenting matters can be extremely challenging for families and often quite acrimonious. The breakdown of a marriage or relationship is obviously difficult for the parties involved and perhaps equally difficult for the child or children of that relationship. Most parents strive to do whatever is in the best interests of their child; however, they can sometimes lose sight of this in the middle of family law proceedings.

Most parents aim to co-parent because while you may no longer be in a relationship, you will most likely always be in each other’s lives. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to communicate effectively, efficiently, directly and positively with your ex-partner. Several co-parenting apps and parenting programs exist to assist and support parents in navigating the challenges of raising children as amicably and successfully as possible post-separation.

This article will discuss the many options available to parents to help them communicate better and provide opportunities for personal growth and reflection. This is especially important for parents experiencing a high level of conflict in their co-parenting relationship and for those currently in litigation.

Co-Parenting Apps and Technology

There are a number of co-parenting apps that exist today to help parents communicate effectively and respectfully with one another. These services generally require a paid subscription; however, some are free.

In choosing the right co-parenting app, you should consider whether it’s user-friendly, what security measures are in place, the affordability of the subscription and the downloading of reports, messages, and call history for legal purposes (especially if proceedings are currently on foot).

(a) Our Family Wizard

A highly recommended platform that offers:

  • Sharing of calendars to track parenting schedules and share appointment details
  • Secure messaging where messages are time-stamped and stored indefinitely
  • Information bank to store critical information about the children, such as medical records and school contacts
  • “Tone Meter” that tracks the tone of the messages for fostering civil communication and ensuring positive communication
  • Expenses log to track parenting expenses and keep accurate payment histories
  • Journal to share and store important moments and memories
  • Third-party access for professionals, including solicitors
  • All video and audio calls get recorded and securely saved

Out Family Wizard requires a paid subscription by parents or professionals.

You can find more information about My Family Wizard here.

(b) TalkingParents

Another option often used by parents is TalkingParents, which offers:

  • Accountable Calling
  • Accountable Payments
  • Secure Messaging
  • Shared Calendar
  • Info Library
  • Personal Journal
  • Vault File Storage
  • Attachment Library
  • Unalterable Records
  • Free subscription with limited features

You can find more information about TalkingParents here.

(c) AppClose

AppClose is another co-parenting app that has a lot of offer, including:

  • Multi-functional calendars to keep all parties involved up to date
  • Secure and confidential Messenger which could be used to communicate with professionals, co-parents and lawyers
  • Tamper-proof messaging to ensure positive communication
  • Audio & video calling feature which documents all calls, missed or completed
  • Request feature to change drop-off time, change parenting days or request for medical expenses reimbursement
  • Expenses to track spending activities, send and receive payments quickly
  • Your circle feature to connect with a group of people such as professionals, school and any third party involved in the child’s life
  • AppClose Solo – an exclusive feature of AppClose that allows parents to send requests and events to others who are not connected to the app
  • Exporting Records – all activities done via the app are stored and can be exported to be used personally or for litigation purposes

The benefit of AppClose is that the app is free and does not require a paid subscription. This is suitable for those parties who may be financially conscious or want to try out a parenting app before committing to a paid subscription.

You can find more information about AppClose here.

(d) 2Houses

Parents can also use 2Houses to assist them with co-parenting, which offers:

  • 14-day free trial
  • Interactive calendar for sharing critical appointments and synchronising each co-parent’s calendar with the other to avoid clashing
  • Simple expense tracker to track each parent’s expenses and sort spending into categories
  • Secure communication via message function
  • Information bank to store critical information such as medical records, access medical professional contacts and access stored documents
  • Live chat function available to connect with the app’s developers

The free trial is a benefit as it allows parents to try out the app and see if they like it and if it works before committing to the paid subscription.

You can find more information about 2Houses here.

These apps are not designed to fix your co-parenting relationship magically or to be used forever. It is also important to remember that some parents will find these apps beneficial, and others will not.

In many cases, they are recommended by legal practitioners, mediators, counsellors, or even the Court to mitigate risk and avoid unproductive and unpleasant communication between parents. In many cases, the apps help parents who are experiencing high conflict or are in the middle of complex or hostile parenting proceedings.

Parenting Programs – Co-parenting 

Parenting courses offer great resources for self-reflection and personal growth and are a valuable resource for parents seeking support. Parenting courses play a significant role in parenting litigation and are often mandatory for parents going through high-conflict or complicated parenting matters. These programs are designed to help parents learn communication skills and reflect on their past and/or current behaviours to assist and support them through raising their child or children post-separation.

In some cases, the Court will order a party or parties to undertake a specific parenting program.

A popular parenting program is the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, which offers a range of courses and resources to build positive and productive relationships between parents and their children. You can find more information here.

The Parenting After Separation course is another beneficial course that the Court has accepted. The course provides resources, advice and guidance on navigating the difficulties of parenting post-separation in accordance with family law legislation in Australia. The course also offers information by and about the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and Services Australia Child Support Agency. You can find more information here.

Parenting After Separation also offers another course called the Parenting Orders Program. This program targets parents with interim or final court orders who have been so entrenched in the conflict that they are finding it difficult to move forward. It also targets parents who have contravened those court orders. You can find more information here.

These programs are designed to encourage and foster positive and manageable co-parenting relationships. There is only so much lawyers, mediators, and the Court can do to de-escalate hostile parenting relationships, and both parents have the onus to move forward and try to make things work.

Parenting apps, technology, and programs are a relatively new development in family law. These apps and programs are not inherently bad or good and will not work for everyone, but research into this is currently being conducted in Australia. It is a fairly new area of study in Australia, and it is being tested with family dispute resolution professionals (such as mediators). In time, this research could shape how these apps and programs are implemented and whether they become mandatory for parents involved in parenting proceedings.

The main takeaway from this article should be that there are a number of resources out there for parents struggling to navigate the challenges of post-separation parenting. There is no guarantee that these apps and programs will immediately alleviate those difficulties, but they exist to help reframe your approach to post-separation parenting.

How Ramsden Family Law Can Assist with Co-parenting Communication

Navigating post-separation parenting can be daunting, but Ramsden Family Law is here to support you through every step. Our experienced team understands the complexities of family law proceedings and can provide valuable guidance tailored to your unique situation. Whether you’re seeking assistance in communication with your ex-partner or exploring options for personal growth through parenting programs, we’re here to help. Contact us today for an initial consultation and take the first step towards a smoother co-parenting journey.