Goal: To learn how to become a better father in 30 days. Each day I will implement one new idea, concept, or strategy that will ultimately improve the relationship I have with my kids. I am going to strive to learn how to become a better dad in less than one month.
I have compiled a list of the best co-parenting apps for iPhone that have helped me stay organized and stress-free while co-parenting with my ex-wife. I talked a lot about the importance of staying organized in my recent interview on the Day-by-Day Podcast, and I will go into more specific details here.
It is important to note that my situation is one that I get along extremely well with my ex-wife, and we are great co-parents together. This is the most important first step. While it didn’t happen overnight, it is important to realize that before you can apply any organizational systems or use any co-parenting apps successfully, you have to achieve a decently positive co-parenting relationship with your ex. These apps only helped to further solidify our roles as great co-parents.
SIDE NOTE: If you are having a difficult time co-parenting and need solutions dealing with your ex-wife who is making your life as a co-parent difficult due to negativity, lying, bad communication, or using the kids to get in between the two of you, then check out this article, which focuses more on apps for this particular type of situation.
IOS Calendar or Google Calendar
If you happen to be on the same cell phone plan as your ex-wife, then you have access to one of the best, easiest, and free co-parenting apps available, the iOS Calendar App. Family sharing allows you to share certain, pre-selected items, like specific calendar entries, reminders, or apps. All you have to do is set up family sharing and add a category in the calendar app that you’d like to share. I currently use this to share calendar entries such as activities for the kids, school events, birthday parties, play-dates, homework due dates, and our agreed-upon custody schedule, and more.
SIDE NOTE: Be sure to set up the planned custody schedule using another app (such as Alimentor 2, which is listed below) or with good old fashioned pen and paper. Then, once the schedule is agreed upon by both parents, transfer it into the iOS calendar. This will eliminate any problems should your ex-wife attempt to change the calendar entry within the iOS calendar and claim that you didn’t hold up your end of the agreed-upon schedule. If any changes need to be made to the original agreed-upon schedule that you created outside of the calendar app, get them in writing first in an email or text, and then update in the iOS calendar to finalize.
If you do not share a cell phone plan with your ex-wife, then you can use family sharing in the Google calendar to achieve the same outcome. You can integrate your Google calendar into your iOS calendar and share only the family events that you set up within your Google calendar. If you need help setting this up, click here.
Splitwise is one of the best co-parenting apps that I use regularly. It is a free app for iPhone and Android that allows you to track and share expenses related to the kids. The app focuses on fairness and makes it easy and tangible to track what is fair. If I pay for a school trip for one of my kids, all I do is enter the expense name and amount into Splitwise, and it automatically tracks the expense and notes the half that I am owed from my ex. A few days later my ex pays for some doctor visit co-pays for the kids, so she enters the expense into the app and now my half that is owed is deducted from the running balance. This can go on indefinitely if you both are paying equally for expenses, or you can decide when you want to “settle up,” and pay any owed amounts each month. Then you start back even and do it all again.
Additional Splitwise Features
- Organize expenses
- Track balances
- Add groups
- Equal or unequal splits; split by percentage
- Recurring Expenses
- Receipt scanning (pro version)
- Charts & graphs (pro version)
- Expense search (pro version)
This is the app that I used to originally plan and execute the custody calendar. Alimentor 2 was created to help you win a fair and realistic child custody agreement. Once a child custody agreement is established, you can use the app to document and control the gap between your parenting plan and reality.
What I like the most about this app is the great job it does in tracking parenting percentage time and overnights. This is important to me because as a 50/50 shared custody parent, I need to ensure the kids are given an equal amount of time with both me and their mother. I appreciate the detail that was put into the custody calendar planning.
The app also offers many more features that I don’t currently use but could be useful for you. You can actually track expenses within the app (if you don’t like the Splitwise solution), log pick-ups and drop-offs, track planned vs. actual custody time if changes to the original schedule occur, and has detailed reporting options.
Google Docs is a versatile app that can do almost anything. I could write an entire article on just using Google Docs for co-parenting, but for now, I will give you just a few of the best ideas.
- School projects and homework schedule
- Usernames and passwords for all kid’s accounts that each parent needs to have access to
- Birthday party planning
- Custody schedule (if you decide against using a dedicated app like Alimentor 2)
- Track and share expenses (if you decide against using a dedicated app like Splitwise)
- Family policy manual
- Create sharable forms (chore chart, kids planning calendar, etc)
Bark is a parental control phone monitoring app to help keep kids safer online. Bark monitors social media, text, and email on Android and iOS devices. While not necessarily an app to make co-parenting easier, it is an app that will keep your kids safer. Since co-parenting comes with kids being shuttled back and forth between houses, it is easier for things to slip through the cracks. Electronic devices are more accessible than ever, and with all the communication that needs to happen between parents, screentime is often overlooked.
Bark helps me manage and protect my kids while they are online. They monitor some of the most popular apps and social media platforms, including text messaging and email, for signs of digital dangers. You can control screen time management and their web filtering tools help to set limits around how and when your kids use their devices.
There is no “all-in-one” solution for being the best father or best co-parent, but using some of the best co-parenting apps can certainly help make life easier. The first step to becoming a successful co=parent isn’t downloading an app. It is to work on the relationship and communication with the mother of your kids. Once you achieve that, implementing the use of a few apps can really decrease the stress that comes with co-parenting. Being an awesome dad is hard enough.
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