Many households rely on Google Calendar or similar apps to manage their busy schedules these days. However, separated parents who raise their children jointly (co-parents) face many unique challenges when it comes to communicating and managing their schedules. That’s why these co-parenting apps exist – to help divorced parents raise their kids in the best possible way. We’ve assembled a list featuring the best ones for this post.
Since 2001, OurFamilyWizard (Web | Android | iOS) has remained one of the top co-parenting apps out there. With more than one million users across 75 countries, it’s no wonder that this parenting tool is recommended by courts in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
OurFamilyWizard gives parents who live in separate households the ability to easily manage parenting schedules, expense reimbursement, and communication inside one centralized app.
With the built-in calendar, co-parents can individually track their parenting schedules. They can also set specific holiday calendars and share appointments or other events happening in their child’s life. Furthermore, the Trade/Swap™ tool gives parents the ability to send straightforward requests for sudden changes or one-time alterations to the custody schedule.
OurFamilyWizard also has a secure message board so that co-parents can communicate without worry. This helps replace endless strings of text, email chains, and phone calls by providing a single communication channel that is tamper-proof and fully documented.
Messages sent between co-parents cannot be edited or deleted. Also, tools like ToneMeter™ help parents maintain positive, effective communication. Furthermore, the Expense Log lets parents share receipts and pay each other electronically – all through the app.
However, one of its most useful features is the Info Bank. This is a way for co-parents to share documents like medical records, insurance cards, clothing sizes, and more.
Best of all, co-parents can also share access with others who may need to view the schedule or retrieve data, such as grandparents, therapists, and attorneys. This is a major difference between OurFamilyWizard and other co-parenting apps since many do not offer professional accounts for lawyers, mediators, and counselors. The ability to easily share data with these professionals also saves co-parents time and energy and makes it easier to export data if needed for parenting disputes.
OurFamilyWizard charges a flat annual fee. Unfortunately, there is no free trial currently available.
OurFamilyWizard offers a total of three plan options, all of which bill annually. Additionally, co-parents can each sign up and let OurFamilyWizard do the legwork of completing the setup process for both parents.
- Choose Your Own plan – starts at just $99/year for the most basic features (unless you add on the customization options that bring additional fees). However, even this level includes 1GB of storage plus tools like the calendar and message board.
- The Essentials plan – runs slightly more at $144/year. This plan adds in access to the Trade/Swap™ tool, ToneMeter™, and 5GB of storage. Additionally, co-parents can make up to eight payments to each other directly through OFWpay™.
- Premium plan – runs $204/year and gives parents access to all of the Essentials features as well as unlimited storage, unlimited reimbursement payments, and the ability to request certified copies of records.
Cozi (Web | Android | iOS) is a free family organizer app, which makes it a great tool for co-parents who need a budget-friendly way to manage their calendars and keep track of joint responsibilities. It’s been around since 2005 and is a crowd favorite with a wide variety of families.
Cozi primarily works as a calendar and joint to-do list. The Shared Family Calendar uses color-coded dots to signify each family member. Each person in the app can see the entire family view at once or filter by individual. The Cozi Today section can be used to get an at-a-glance view of everyone’s commitments and to-do list items for the day.
Additionally, you can add other family members, like babysitters or grandparents. This way there’s never any question as to who should be with the kids at any given time. You can also use it to keep up with the location of older children, especially if they may have asked one parent for permission for an activity that actually occurs on the other parent’s time.
The To-Do List feature may seem like it’s built more for families who all live under the same roof, yet it can also be useful for separated parents. Parents can make chore or daily task lists for each child, then check them off regardless of which parent’s home they staying at that day.
You can also use the lists for joint efforts, like birthday party planning or Christmas shopping lists so that co-parents can plan and organize together from separate locations.
Unfortunately, Cozi doesn’t offer tools like messaging, document sharing, or expense reporting. Also, the free version does not alert parents to changes made to the calendar, meaning you have to constantly look for any events the other parent (or one of your children) may have added since the last time you opened the app.
Cozi is available for free and includes all of the main features (family calendar, to-do lists, and recipe section) available in the free version. However, the free app does include ads, which can be a bit annoying for those who are looking for a simple co-parenting app without a lot of clutter.
For those looking to remove the ads, you can opt in for Cozi Gold, which runs $29.99 per year. This premium version also provides birthday reminders, a month view calendar, push notifications for calendar changes, and additional options for reminders.
2Houses includes a calendar that can help parents keep up with events and other important dates. The calendar also allows you to request changes to the co-parenting schedule, add recurring items like music lessons or lunch with Grandma, and view the entire family’s schedule at a glance. You can even sync the 2Houses calendar with your preferred calendar app, such as iCal, Google calendar, or Outlook.
2Houses includes a nice financial management system. You can categorize expenses, add in recurring payments for child support or alimony, and generate financial reports. The balance always shows what needs to be paid and by whom to ensure the accounts are balanced.
While you can’t transfer money directly on the app, parents can send payment requests through the system so that the other parent can see what their balance is at any time. Furthermore, parents can also create wish lists with item descriptions and costs, which can come in handy during back-to-school season or the holidays.
2Houses also includes a parental messaging platform that is secure and tamper-proof. Parents can communicate and even print off messages, but they cannot edit or delete them once they are sent.
There’s also a journal within the app so that parents can share more frequent updates and keep each other in the loop as their kids grow. Additionally, 2Houses offers an information bank where parents can save important information like their child’s clothing sizes, medical records, and more, all in one centralized location.
2Houses does not offer a free version of the app, but you can sign up for a 14-day free trial before you shell out any cash with a subscription. After that, the app is available for co-parenting teams at a flat rate of $150/year (equal to $12.50 per month). If you choose to pay monthly, the price is $24.99/month.
Fayr (Web | Android | iOS) is the creation of divorced dad Michael Daniels, who felt like there just weren’t any co-parenting apps that really met the unique needs of his family. Now his app is one of the “premier co-parenting apps on the market,” and it’s easy to see why once you try it out.
Fayr promises to help separated parents “experience co-parenting in a totally new way: simply, inexpensively, transparently, and fairly.” With the Calendar feature, you can input your everyday parenting plan, add in changes for holidays, and program in events, like play dates and appointments. Parents can also use the calendar to request date exchanges, add notes, and monitor events the other parent puts into the calendar.
In addition to the calendar, Fayr offers a messaging platform that lets parents communicate smoothly in one place. Parents can also access records of previous exchanges and export them as needed for documentation purposes. Like many other apps, Fayr offers an Expenses feature and a File Vault where parents can upload important documents.
There are two features that make Fayr incredibly unique: the “Geo Location Log” and “Private Journal.”
With the “Geo Location Log,” co-parents can log their check-ins in a convenient and verifiable way. This can be helpful for necessary child swaps or times a parent may need to document being at a specific GPS-verified location during a specific time and date.
The “Private Journal” gives co-parents a place to document specific information or events and include photos or other documentation. While this a great way to keep a “virtual scrapbook,” it’s also a good way to keep track of anything unusual or document your parenting time for legal purposes.
Fayr doesn’t offer a free version or even a free trial, just a single fee of $9.99 per month for unlimited access. However, up for an entire year at $99.99 ($8.33/month) or three years for $249.99 ($6/month) offers savings.
One of the biggest causes of conflict between divorced parents revolves around finances. Luckily, SupportPay (Web | Android | iOS) helps parents work through these difficult financial conversations more effectively.
Support Pay is one of the more unique co-parenting apps, as it primarily focuses on finances and not communication. The app allows parents to add in recurring payments like child support or alimony, provide information and receipts for shared expenses, and even split certain bills down the middle. Parents can also transfer money between them without sharing banking information or manually enter in payments if made another way (like by cash or check). You can also link your PayPal account for easy transfers.
For larger expenses (e.g. medical bills or tuition), parents have the option to make partial payments toward the total expense. Similarly, co-parents can pay multiple “bills” at one time, making it easy to cash out for an entire month’s worth of expenses in a single transaction.
One of the most outstanding perks is the ability to dispute expenses directly through the platform. This Dispute Management Tool allows a parent to provide a rationale behind their dispute, then gives the other parent a chance to provide more information or negotiate further. Parents can go back and forth about specific expenses up to three times, then take the documentation to their attorney if further issues occur.
With all of the receipts, expenses, and payments logged in a single location, parents can easily pull up detailed reports, track expenses by child, or export data for their own accounting purposes. Furthermore, co-parents can easily print out information as needed for documentation purposes or even get certified copies for court.
While SupportPay doesn’t offer many other features that co-parenting apps typically include, it’s a great solution for parents who only need a financial solution or are most concerned about detailed expense tracking in the aftermath of their separation.
Support Pay does have a free version with limitations on how many expenses can be added per month. However, the premium version includes unlimited everything and costs just $15 per month (or $99/year if you pay the entire annual premium at once).
With coParenter, you receive access to on-demand mediators at any time, as many times as you need per month. These mediators are trained to help co-parents manage disputes, draft agreements, and even communicate more effectively. This can be incredibly helpful in the early stages of separation when emotions are high.
Even if you don’t need a mediator, you can take advantage of personalized coaching sessions with experts who are prepared to help you work through common co-parenting problems, offer suggestions, and help you draft messages before you send them. Also, the app’s built-in Intelligent Dispute Resolution (IDR) technology will alert you when language becomes combative and help you avoid unnecessary conflicts.
In addition to these helpful, unique features, coParenter offers many of the features that co-parents need on a regular basis, like a secure messaging platform, a family calendar, and document storage. Furthermore, coParenter offers tracking for child swaps, expense tracking, and a private journal where you can store information you may need to recall later down the line.
CoParenter offers a 30-day free trial for any co-parents who want to test it before they buy. After that, access costs $12.99 per month for a single parent, or co-parents can go in together for just $16.67 per month with double access.
Unfortunately, since many co-parents now live in single-income households after their separation, money is tight. If you’re in that boat, then look at Appclose (Android | iOS) – one of the only free co-parenting apps with no hidden fees.
Even though it’s a completely free app, Appclose offers many of the same features that the pay-to-use co-parenting apps include.
For example, the Calendar feature allows co-parents and other family members involved in a child’s life to keep track of where a child is at any given time. Parents can use co-parenting schedule templates to easily set up their everyday arrangements, then add in appointments and other details with a few clicks. Parents can also communicate changes to the parenting schedule or simply leave comments about specific events for the other co-parent to read.
Co-parents can use the secure messaging platform to communicate with each other. It provides read receipts, message last viewed data, and the ability to export communication or share with a third party if needed.
The app includes expense tracking, too, plus the ability to make any type of request, be it for reimbursement or to make changes to the schedule. Parents can view these requests, accept or reject them, and move forward without any disagreements.
And, of course, parents can export any of the above-mentioned data at any time for any reason.
There are no hidden fees here – Appclose is completely free to use with no monthly subscription required.
Some parents simply text or email to communicate and use other calendar apps to track custody time. However, these alternatives don’t offer the same security and peace of mind that co-parenting apps can provide. The apps on this list have measures in place to prevent tampering with data, including message history. While users can make edits to calendars, uploaded documents, and personal information (like journal entries), neither co-parent can delete or alter messages, payment exchanges, or geo location data. If you’re a Mac user, though, and just looking to coordinate events and appointments, you may want to check out these calendar services.
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