We understand that communication between co-parents can be difficult and tense especially when the relationship did not end on amicable terms. This is a common cause of children matters ending up in court and results in significant legal costs and causes distress to the entire family.
One way of communicating to reduce any potential conflict is through family Apps. There are more and more of these types of Apps coming onto the market each year. We recommend these Apps to many of our clients as a safe and secure way of discussing the arrangements for their children to spend time with the other parent or to update each other on any important information that the other parent will need to know – such as changes in schedule, health concerns, appointments, school trips etc. Judges, justices, and magistrates globally are increasingly ordering families in contested children matters to use such Apps to prevent and reduce conflict and to ensure a secure method of communicating between co-parents and other parties such as grandparents, step-parents etc.
Two apps which many courts have recommended and our clients have used are: AppClose and OurFamilyWizard. Below is a summary of the key features of both Apps:
AppClose has a variety of features such as:
- a calendar to ensure co-parents and family members are aware of any key events occurring;
- a text messenger feature that keeps an accurate record of any communication without it being altered or deleted which can be helpful if any correspondence is needed to be used as evidence in court;
- audio and video calling features for the child to be able to have regular phone/video calls with the other parent – for added security your location is never shared;
- a request’s feature which allows you to request any reimbursement of expenses such as medical expenses, extracurricular activities etc.
Also this app is free!
OFW offers different types of accounts to suit your needs, such as: parent accounts; third party accounts for step-parents, grandparents and extended family members; child accounts to allow children to view the family calendars and exchange messages with other family members and practitioner accounts to allow practitioners such as your solicitors, barristers, mediators and family therapists to oversee any communication.
OFW has many features similar to those for app close as well as a Journal section where you are able to document last minute schedule changes or share memories with your co-parent and an information bank where you can keep all important family information in one place such as medical history, insurance information, emergency contacts, school schedule etc.
You are able to sign up to a 1 year subscription starting at £79.
There are of course many other providers on the market and we recommend you do a full search before deciding on using a particular brand to make sure that it meets your and your separated partner’s needs.
If you have found any of the information in this article helpful and you would like an initial discussion with someone from our friendly family team, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling 01622 698000.