Jonathan Marks, STL Moms: Apps can help settle divorce custody disputes

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Margie: Family attorney Jonathan Marks with The Marks Law Firm is here this morning with more on how technology can offer you some solutions. Good morning to you.

JM: Good morning, Margie.

Margie: So child support. It’s kind of one of those things that can lead to a lot of problems. Why is that?

JM: Well, it’s two reasons. One, it’s how it’s getting paid, who’s tracking it, is it going through the state or wage garnishments, or you’re paying directly to the other parent. The other aspect is it’s just a starting point. The reality is when you have kids, kids are expensive and the child support is just the beginning. There are other expenses, for out-of-pocket medical expenses, or extracurricular activities that still have to get paid and divided between the parents.

Margie: So several companies have developed these software programs, you can use them as an app, you can use them on your computer, to set up accounts for these parents.

JM: Correct, so whether it’s Our Family Wizard or 2Houses, which are the most popular used within the court systems here in Missouri, these particular programs allow you to be able to enter in the information that is necessary for you and the other child’s parent to be able to communicate on all these various support issues. So it would allow you to track the expenses, upload them into a computer system, and allow the computer system to subsequently send the email or other communication, like text messages or whatever it may be, to the other parent to notify them of something that’s going on in regard to those expenses.

Margie: Jonathan, why is this better than just emailing each other?

JM: Well, that’s a good question. There’s a couple of reasons. First of all, it takes the emotional aspect out of it. When you just get an email from your former spouse, or your child’s other parent, you have no idea what it’s going to be about, and if you have those emotional attachments to it you really don’t want to open it and that can lead to just big problems in and of itself. The other aspect of it is when you’re in the court system, by using one of these programs, it would allow you to give access to your attorney or also to the judge when you’re in the middle of a proceeding, for the ability to go in, download and use that information without you having to go reinvent the wheel and re-create all this evidence before the court.

Margie: You mentioned two of the most popular. Our Family Wizard, how does that one work?

JM: The Wizard is an application that the parent would pay $99 a year to use. It’s all encompassing. It would allow you to have a calendar that would have all the child’s events included on it. It would also allow you to go in and put entries in every time you have an expense. So for example, if your child is playing soccer, the league is costing you $100 for that purpose. You go in, scan the receipt, put the entry in and it would automatically send it to the other person, and then when you receive it you can have a bank account already hooked up, and you just enter that and it allows it to be paid electronically without you having to do anything else.

Margie: That’s pretty nice. Now, that one does cost, right?

JM: Correct. That one is $99 per user, the 2Houses program is free of charge.

Margie: And that’s $99 for the whole year?

JM: Correct. Per user.

Margie: All right. Jonathan Marks with The Marks Law Firm. Thank you so much, we appreciate it.

JM: My pleasure

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