Using Zoom and Online Tools to Make Child Custody Arrangement Work Better
Learning to co-parent isn’t always easy after divorce or separation, but thanks to a range of new online tools, it is much easier than before. Divorced parents across the country use these tools to do everything from coordinating schedules to keeping track of support payments to negotiating child custody arrangements. We take a look at a few of the most popular tools and apps below.
If you’re struggling to negotiate custody arrangements with your ex but don’t want an in-person meeting because of the coronavirus pandemic, there is another way. You can use videoconferencing tools such as Zoom to negotiate child custody arrangements with a mediator or your divorce lawyers.
Zoom has a “virtual breakout room” function that permits each parent to remain in separate cyber rooms while the mediator goes back and forth between the parties to help them resolve their differences. Your attorney can even be present with you in the breakout room to privately discuss the legal ramifications of your options.
If you don’t have a mediator, consider organizing a conference with your respective divorce lawyers on Zoom. You can have a central Zoom meeting, including you, your spouse, and your respective lawyers, but use virtual breakout rooms to chat with your lawyer privately.
Co-parents who have already negotiated a child custody arrangement, but have trouble communicating with each other about the day-to-day details, may find the coParenter app useful. This app offers a range of features designed to improve communication between co-parents and document the exchanges.
The app allows you to keep track of your respective calendars, make schedule change requests, and record expenses and reimbursements. It even offers location-based tools for pickup and drop-off, and tools for coordinating day-to-day parenting choices such as allowance, food choices, social media use. Built to function as a mediator, the app flags curse words, inflammatory phrases, and offensive names to give each parent time to consider their words and prevent heated conversations from escalating. If the warnings aren’t enough to smooth the situation, the app also offers live, on-demand mediation from trained professionals.
If your child custody arrangements are already set, but you and your former spouse are having difficulty keeping track of your busy schedules, Cozi is a free program that coordinates the entire family’s timetable with a color-coded program. Among many other things, the app offers a “journal” feature that enables parents to share what the children are up to while spending time with the non-custodial parent.