When co-parenting with your ex, minor communication issues can sometimes escalate into major disputes. That’s where apps can help. These digital platforms create a neutral space which can improve strained communications and decrease tension between separated and divorced individuals.

Co-parenting apps include a variety of features intended to help exes navigate shared custody. This includes time-stamped messaging, expense tracking to split costs, and a shared calendar for scheduling pickup and drop-off times, activities, and medical appointments. Parents may also upload documents, from permission slips to prescriptions, to keep everyone in the loop.

Not every app has exactly the same features, so you’ll want to choose one with the tools that you personally find most important. Many apps come with a fee, but you can find some free options, and in many cases you can test out a paid app for a trial period.

The Bump recently reviewed some popular co-parenting communication apps. These were their top picks:

  • Our Family Wizard was rated the best overall. It’s accepted by courts in all 50 states. Events are color coded on a shared calendar. Parents may send calendar change requests, which can be accepted or rejected. There’s a messenger tool, which analyzes your tone and alerts you if you sound combative. You can upload receipts and make payments in the app. You can even share special moments and photos in the journal section. This app starts at $144 annually.
  • Onward was rated the best app for managing expenses. Parents may upload receipts and enter shared expenses, and then invoice each other. It works with Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, and CashApp. The app also keeps track of unpaid transactions and reports on how much each parent has spent. This app starts at $9.99 per month.
  • Custody X Change was chosen for its ability to create and navigate a parenting plan. It offers a range of templates, a color-coded calendar for custody, and a time report. There is a messaging system that detects hostile language and gives you a chance to rephrase communications. This app starts at $8 per month.
  • Cozi was designated the best free co-parenting app. Its scheduling tool allows you to see everyone’s commitments at-a-glance. Reminders help ensure you don’t miss appointments or activities. A to-do list function allows you to create individualized lists for birthday or holiday gifts, where you can check off something you’ve bought so the child doesn’t receive it twice. However, there is no expense tracker or messenger service.
  • App Close, also free, was chosen as the best app for secure audio and video calls. This app includes a calendar with a scheduling tool, an expense tracker, and a time-stamped messenger service. You also can call your ex using the app. The app automatically documents every attempted, miss and completed call in case you need that record.

Communications apps are voluntary, but a court may mandate the use of one as part of a custody or parenting plan.

If you need help with a custody matter in Pennsylvania, we know how to effectively represent you and take steps to protect your parental rights. Contact the top Bucks County custody attorneys of Williams Family Law by phone at 215-340-2207 or email us at info@bucksfamilylawyers.com.