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Making Parents Communication Easier with Technology

2 December 2019

Anything that can help with communication between separated parents is a good thing. For parties where communication is difficult, there is now AI technology that can help improve phone and email communication and much more. We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of what’s available.

Application / Platform and Cost (per parent)

Features

1. Toppako

https://toppako.com/

$0 for 6 months

$9.95 per month

$110.00 per year


· Message Monitor (using AI and dictionaries of approved words) reviews, filters and flags messages using a ‘traffic light’ system giving confidence that a message is ‘safe’ to send or read. Messages containing swear words, that are threatening or significantly negative are quarantined;

· Control over when and where you receive your messages so you are in the ‘right frame of mind’ before opening your messages.

· Calendar for appointments, events and commitments which you can chose to be visible to your connection

· Messages securely stored in the cloud and can be accessed anytime including if transcripts of messages are required.

2. Our Children Australia

https://www.ourchildren.com.au/

$15 per month

$100 for 6 months

$150 per year


· A co-parenting calendar to allow parents to easily view schedules including events and appointments for the children and time spent with each parent.

· An email ‘mailbox’ where parents can continue standard messenger-based communication.

· Costs tracker (such as school fees or child support paid)

· Information bank where parents can share information and photos of and about the children

3. Divvito

https://divvito.com/

Basic Plan $0

Enhanced Plan:

$96 per year (both parents)

$399 for life (both parents)


Both plans, ‘Dani’ (virtual assistant) assists with the following:

· Organising messages into conversations (such as ‘school expenses’ and ‘changeovers’);

· Archiving messages (messages will be stored permanently in chronological order);

· Inappropriate messages will be flagged, and the sender will be given the opportunity to revise their message before it is finally sent.

· The application does not have a calendar, however, offers integration of times and dates of communication between parents with the user’s phone calendar.

Enhanced Plan (additional features):

· Download and share messages enabling the transfer of all communication (from email or text etc) that the user has shared with the other parent to store in one place

· Unlimited document, photo and video uploads

· Extreme language will be blocked

· Speed dial to support network – this allows parents to reach out to their colleagues or family members quickly when in need of support.

4. Our Family Wizard

https://www.ourfamilywizard.com.au/

30 day free trial

$154 for 1 year (both parents)

$270 for 2 years (both parents)


· Shared colour-coded calendar for parents to share time arrangements, important events or appointments for the children.

· Secure messaging through ‘message board’ which cannot be edited, deleted or retracted

· A journal to record observations, share memories and check in at different locations (for example to check in and confirm attendance at a changeover)

· Expenses log to keep track of shared expenses, any upcoming expenses and reimbursement history including to upload receipts for the other parent to view;

· InfoBank allows parents to store important family information such as the children’s medical/prescription needs and immunisations schedule to-date.

· ‘ToneMeter’ that uses a communication algorithm to encourage positive and productive communication.

5. 2Houses

https://www.2houses.com/en/

14-day free trial

$13.25 per parent per month

$159 per year (per family)

$659 for life (per family)


· A co-parenting calendar to allow parents to easily view schedules including events and appointments for the children and time spent with each parent.

· A costs tracker to track expenses such as school fees, medical bills, clothing etc.

· Information and document centre for parents to exchange photos or videos of the children and information about the children including medical reminders, notes from any recent medical appointments and clothing and shoe sizes etc.

· Private messaging where messages cannot be deleted so to ensure that each party maintains a full transcript of all communications.

· A journal which allows parents to easily share information, news, photos (additional to the information bank)

· Parents can assign specific ‘rights of access’ to the secure platform to their children, other family members or third parties for example a mediator.

· One parent subscribes and pays for the platform and the parents then organise between themselves the amount (if any) to be met by the other parent

6.  Cozi

https://www.cozi.com/

$0 Basic

$46.99 Gold per year


Cozi is not specifically for separated families but is a ‘family organiser’.

Basic and Gold:

· Shared colour coded calendar function makes it easy to schedule and review events related to each child

· To Do List function to add reminders in relation to each child such as a note about school forms to be signed or collection time at school.

· Family Journal

Gold:

· Month View so can review entire month of appointments on one screen

· Calendar search function, calendar change notifications and additional reminder settings

· Birthday tracker and shared contacts

7.  Talking Parents

https://talkingparents.com/home

$0 Standard Plan (Website only)

$5.99 USD per month Premium Plan


Standard and Premium:

· Easy and secure messaging with 5 files able to be uploaded with messages, as well as timestamp as to when other parent viewed and unalterable record history

· Real time email notification for new messages

· Mobile friendly website access

· Shared calendar and personal journal

· Attachment library (Standard Plan limited 7 day access)

Premium:

· Attachment library (Unlimited Access)

· Vault personal; file storage (Mobile App Feature only)

· Certified printed records with 10% discount

· Unlimited PDF conversion and journal record downloads

·  Access to Premium Mobile App

There are additional reports and features available for purchase as often as required including journal record download, pdf calendar record download and text message notifications.

8. Custody Connection

http://custodyconnection.com/


·  Syncable cloud based easily viewable ‘time arrangements’ calendar

·  Parents can sync ‘primary calendar’ with each other to accurately create, manage, change and view the arrangements for the children to spend time with each of them

·  Avoids the texts, email or phone call to communicate with the other parent about time arrangements as the app provides for communication and requests to be sent in real time

·  Auto track the days/time children spend with each parent during the year as well as review requests for changes to those days/times

The popularity of such apps in Australia is steadily increasing as are they in many countries.  ‘2houses’ for example, has an estimated 170,500 families using the platform across numerous countries.

Applications such as the above do require commitment from all parties using the platforms to ensure that the benefits of the respective application are utilised to their full potential. Accordingly, if used appropriately, such applications provide great assistance to parents particularly in communicating with each other in a respectful, civil and non-denigrating format, as well as organising schedules and complying with any agreements or orders that may be in place.  The use of such platforms encourages all parties to maintain a child-focussed approach to their custody and access arrangements.

If you are looking for a ‘whole package’ application, Our Family Wizard and 2Houses are comparable in that they each offer not only a communication platform, but also calendars, costs trackers and information sharing. Both have been included (and arguably) endorsed in recent judgments of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia. Alternatively, if you are looking for a cost-efficient ‘communication only’ based platform, Toppako and Divvito offers services to suit most budgets, enabling parents to engage in organised and civil communication.

If you are about to separate or are separated, and have any questions about Family and Relationship Law – contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers on (07) 3221 4300 today.

2019-12-02T14:24:25+10:00

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