Divorce happens for a reason – two people no longer can live together as a family unit, and for many of these couples, the hurt feelings continue to fester. But when these parents have children together, they still need to function as parents in the best interest of the child, and courts favor joint custody arrangements where parents make decisions together and equally participate in the lives of the children. If the parents do not get along, how can the court make joint custody work for these parents?
One option courts increasingly use: an app parents can download and put on their phone that makes sharing information without having to communicate per se much easier.
A popular app used in Missouri courts is Our Family Wizard. The great benefit of OFW is that it allows each parent to post information relevant to the child without having to send texts or emails directly to the other parent. All information is shared in the one app and can be read by their attorneys and a guardian ad litem – even the court. Knowing that the information is viewable in this way and reliable in terms of delivery helps put parents on better behavior, and it also minimizes the degree of conflict because it uses a third-party app rather than each other’s phones or emails.
How do apps like OFW work?
Each parent signs up for the service and downloads the app or accesses it online. Parents agree to use the calendar function to post and sync all activities of the children in one place so everyone knows and therefore cannot complain about lack of notice. Additionally, if parents need to discuss a decision related to the child they may do so in a separate section of the app. They can leave questions or comments for each parent.
Missouri courts find OFW so useful in helping parents minimize conflict that they frequently issue an OFW order in a custody case to set out the details of communication, hoping that parents will rely on the structure and share more info without the problems of talking or texting directly. With more information shared, parents have less worry they have been left out of the process or intentionally not told about school or extracurricular events.
While social media has done much to take human contact out of society, ironically in this situation it actually helps!
If you have questions about technology apps and custody, contact us – we can help.