Co-parenting apps help divorced parents with childrearing

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CHICAGO — Parenting can be hard — just ask any parent. Co-parenting adds a whole new complicated element to the job of raising kids, but there are apps out there that claim they can help.

The apps Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard help out parents for a variety of reasons.

Talking Parents launched in 2010 and is free for both iOS and Android users. It’s called a simple service, but the results help people co-parenting, and often not getting along, communicate better and more efficiently. And when one parent is less than truthful to the other, the records are always there for the court to see in black and white.

“Talking parents is if you had a shared white board that you both could write on, however, we are holding that board,” Stephen Nixon, CEO of Talking Parents, said. “Making sure neither parent can change anything, edit anything, delete anything and if they need a copy of the record for the court, we provide that.”

The app is being used all over the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. In some instances, it is court ordered by the judge to help resolve what appears to be irreconcilable.

Chicago is one of Talking Parents’ biggest markets, as well as one of its oldest.

Our Family Wizard is in the co-parenting tech world, as well. The website launched nearly 20 years ago and the app launched in 2006. The goal: to improve the often challenging co-parenting relationship.

Schedules, health records and expenses are all color coated. Even lawyers, therapists, mediators can have access to the records stored — records being used in courthouses in 50 states.

Why do it? Some experts say because “the old kitchen fridge doesn’t exist anymore.”

It’s all in one place with less opportunity for additional discussion. It’s pretty straightforward. at “our family wizard” what’s said is kept as a matter of record and has been for 20 years.

One special feature on Our Family Wizard is the tone meter. The CEO said you should think of it as a spellcheck for your attitude. It looks for swear words and displays a red bar at the bottom of the screen as the author becomes more aggressive.

“This message could be construed by the coparent. And the goal is always how do we get the family moving forward past the conflict because the real focus should be on the children,” Jai Kisson, CEO of Our Family Wizard, said.

Our Family Wizard costs $99 per parent and is renewed annually. Everyone else who accesses it gets it for free, including the kids. The content is restricted depending on who you are and what you need to see.

All contacts and locations are kept confidential, which is important when it comes to high stakes custody cases or where violence or restraining orders are in play.

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