Co-Parenting? There’s an app for that

written by Love Isn’t Enough columnist Deesha Philyaw; originally published at The Faster Times

File under, “It was only a matter of time…”: A Dallas divorce lawyer has helped create a divorce app for the iPhone.New CoPa Logo 2 Attorney Michelle O’Neil and Fort Worth CPA Bryan Rice designed Divorce Cost & Preps to help those considering divorce estimate the “hidden and direct costs of divorce, such as the cost of providing two houses, two wardrobes for the children, or transportation costs for exchanging children between houses.” The app also lists the personal information and documents needed to prepare a divorce case. The app is available on iTunes for $4.99.

So you know what I’m thinking, right?

What about a co-parenting app?

I posed this question on Facebook and Twitter recently in typical tongue and cheek fashion, so I was surprised by the sincere responses I received. The co-parents I heard from want an app to facilitate the documentation and exchange of important kid-related information:

I’d like to see a calendar for dates/times of visits and scheduled activities (ex. sports) that can be emailed and updated

One function where you could dial up your court orders and see them anytime; a shared calendar function that both parents could log into and post things; a budget calendar function where both parents could input upcoming costs for the kids, and the percentage each parent will owe for that could be calculated according to the court order.

A section for current meds for kids, including name, dose and dosage timetable.

How about a way to list allergies (food and other), and emergency contact numbers, maybe include pediatrician and pharmacy names and numbers, and also prescription number?

And then there was this suggestion:

I want an app that will insulate my kids from the b.s. that their mother spews.

The utility of such an app was really brought home to me via a message from someone who asked me to let her know when I get the app developed. Hmm…I don’t even own an iPhone and the Blackberry my husband forced on me is used only to talk and text (oh, and play Word Mole). But I am up on pop culture lingo like “There’s an app for that!” and, as it turns out, an average Jane really can design an app for the iPhone.

So, building on the suggestions above, what else would a solid co-parenting app feature? How about…

A tool to create a shared parenting agreement

A shared calendar that includes holidays, medical and dental appointments, and other special dates, and is connected to the shared parenting agreement

A tool for logging in child support payments, made and received

A listing of contact information for teachers, schools, babysitters, and extra-curriculars (e.g. the dojo, summer camp, or after-care program)

An alert feature that reminds you to cc your fellow co-parent on emails sent to teachers and others regarding your child’s education, care, and well-being.

Easy access to the 10 Commandments of Co-Parenting

I also found that you can launch an app within an app, so let’s add:

A customized Amazon app featuring co-parenting books

The Therapist in Your Pocket app for those times when co-parenting starts to stress you out

Placing my tongue once again firmly in cheek, let’s add a few more features for the co-parents who…need a little extra:

A place to log violations of the shared parenting agreement (the other co-parent’s violations, of course)-date, time, location, facial expression, and severity of how pissed off you were as a result, on a scale of 1 to 25

A tool for downloading and cataloguing negative comments made about you on your ex’s blog

Google Analytics app to track your ex’s stalkerish thrice-daily visits to your blog

Intelius’s DateCheck app to find out everything your ex isn’t telling you about his/her new significant other

Google Maps app to stake out other co-parent’s new significant other’s house

A customizable tool that explains to your new significant other (who has no kids) why you “still” have to communicate with your ex. You can choose different explanations based on how optimistic you are about your relationship with this person.

A Custody Chaos, Personal Peace tool featuring an inspirational quote of the day from this book which was written to help co-parents keep their cool

A tool that draws boundaries in your co-parenting relationship, where needed, based on analysis of the phone conversations you have with your ex

A tool that administers a non-lethal but not insignificant electrical zap when a co-parent does or says something that could alienate a child from the other parent

A tool that causes a picture of your child to instantly pop up on both co-parents’ phones when their conversation gets heated and ceases to be child-focused

Look…if there’s an app to prevent drunk-dialing and one to simulate the sound of you working when you’re actually napping, why not a co-parenting app? Of course, there are limitations. Co-parenting requires flexibility, maturity, and the ability to maintain a basic level of civility and respect (for your shared parenting agreement at least, if not for your ex). In short, co-parenting requires one to be a grown-up. And, unfortunately, there’s no app for that.

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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