Divorce changes many things in a family, but it does not end families. Managing the often-hectic family schedule from two different homes, not to mention with a parent you would rather not have to speak to, can be challenging and stressful. A good co-parenting calendar system is key in helping you and your former spouse manage the details of life, reduce, or avoid miscommunication and frustration. An organized and easy-to-understand co-parenting family schedule also benefits your children by helping them feel stable and secure as they adjust to their new two-home lifestyle. There is no shortage of online custody calendar systems and apps on the market, so the big question is: which one works best for you, your former spouse, and your kids? Some parents may be able to use their previous family calendar system, modified for co-parenting. Others will need a new system. Before you let your fingers do the walking and Google searching, consider your answers to these questions to help you jumpstart your research.
6 Questions to Help Find You the Perfect Co-Parenting Custody Calendar System
1. What is your co-parenting style and communication?
One of the first things to consider before choosing a custody calendar is your current communication style with your former spouse. You need to honestly assess where the two of you are on the communication spectrum. This can be anywhere from “good when it comes to discussing the kids” to “we rarely, if ever, talk, we only text and email”.
Identifying your current style is a good starting point and will help you determine how much help you will need from the scheduling tool. For example, some apps have a tone meter that identifies harsh tones and recommends more neutral messages. This type of feature could be beneficial when communication is strained but may not be necessary for more congenial relationships.
2. Does the online co-parenting calendar system work from several devices?
There are calendar systems that are apps and systems that are websites. And some systems combine both. Consider what type of interface you typically use for other tasks and what will be the easiest for you, your former spouse and your family to access and manage.
3. Who will oversee the calendar?
Someone needs to be the primary manager of the calendar and agree how updates will be made and managed. For example, if both co-parents are updating the calendar consider a calendar system that sends notifications when changes and updates are made.
4. Who needs to have access to the calendar?
They often say it takes a village. If your children’s grandparents, sitters, or close family friends are helping you and your former spouse transport your kids to activities or care for them when you two are not home, consider if they need access to your co-parenting calendar.
What about your children? Do you need to be able to download, print and post a weekly or monthly calendar in their bedroom, or kitchen that is easy for them to read and understand?
5. Do you need to track shared expenses related to children’s activities, medical expenses etc. or other communication?
Tracking shared expenses can be equally, if not more, stressful than managing the family calendar. If you are in a situation where one parent is required to reimburse or share certain expenses associated with your children’s lives such as medical care, education and/or, extra-curricular activities, consider if you also need an online tool for tracking and managing them and if/how you want it connected to the family calendar.
6. Are you willing to pay a fee for this app or service?
Some calendar systems are free. Others have a monthly fee. Think about how the system you need fits in your budget.
It is good to have choices, and there are many options on the market to meet the varying challenges of co-parenting. Post Divorce Force has a deep understanding of the various scheduling tools on the market today. We can help you identify and implement the one that works best for you. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation to get started!