A healthy relationship is based on a variety of factors, but one of the most important factors has to do with communication. Whether it is a romantic relationship or one based solely on shared responsibility or business, being able to communicate and share information is vital to the success of the relationship. This is especially true in co-parenting situations. Parents who went through a separation or divorce but are tasked with sharing parenting responsibilities can have an especially hard time communicating without conflict or disputes get in the way. When this happens, their ability to parent effectively is hindered, and this can have negative repercussions on the children.
Accurate documentation of how parents are communicating and what about can be essential in demonstrating whether they are both being productive or not. Online communication tools can be a big help in capturing this information, but not all forms of web-based communication are equal. The right online communication tool for co-parents should be one that helps them to communicate clearly and leaves less room for frivolous conflict to occur. It should also thoroughly document everything that is being said so that it's easy to see whether they are able to communicate and fulfill their parenting responsibilities. If they can do this, the whole family benefits.
In the time before the Internet, most divorced or separated families didn't have many options for how to share information. In my cases, they passed a notebook back and forth between homes or made routine phone calls to try and discuss the parenting issues at hand. Both of these methods left lots of room for conflict and miscommunication to occur and crush their chances of productively sharing information and communicating in regards to their children. Even worse, it left their children vulnerable to being placed in the middle of parenting disputes. While this was the case in the past, the Internet has created many more avenues for productive, clear communication to occur between parents. Moreover, it has greatly helped to keep kids out of the middle of parental conflict.
Through the Internet, lots of parents have chosen to communicate via email, chat rooms, or video conferencing. While these mediums provide a way for parents to stay connected and share information at a distance, they don't offer much support to parents in keeping their conversations organized. Take email, for example. A parent might have to look through dozens and dozens of emails to just locate one small but important detail. The time it took to find this could have been spent doing something more productive, like spending time with the children.
Lack of access to information right when it's needed is a catalyst for conflict. Using the right online tool built to facilitate co-parent communication like the OurFamilyWizard® website can be a great help in eliminating this issue. The OurFamilyWizard® website is complete with tools and templates to help parents coordinate schedules, manage shared information, document shared spending, and much more.
As opposed to using standalone software products, these tools on the OurFamilyWizard® website are interactive, neutral, and secure. Standalone software doesn't provide as great of an opportunity for parents to share information or have it available right when it's needed, especially if the software is installed in an inconvenient place such as a desktop computer. It also runs the risk of being lost if, for example, the computer it is installed to crashes. Using a web-based service instead, such as the OurFamilyWizard® website, eliminates the risk of information being lost because it is securely stored in the cloud and can be accessed using any device with a web connection.
More than just information, often times files and other documents need to be shared between parents. The other parent may have already shared a version of a document with you, but how up to date is that copy? Using the file sharing tools in the OurFamilyWizard® information bank, both parents can quickly upload the latest versions of files anytime. Having access to updated insurance cards, report cards, and mediated agreements give both parents a chance to participate in making educated decisions for their children.
Accurately tracking shared expenses is another important element to positive co-parenting. Using the OurFamilyWizard® expense tracking and reimbursement tools, it's never been easier for parents to stay on top of this information. Parents can customize expense types into categories that break down each parent's level of responsibility. When one parent needs to reimburse the other parent or make payments like child support, they can use OFWpay™ to make the payment. This tool is part of the OurFamilyWizard® expense log and will document every step of the payment, from the time it is initiated to when it is deposited into the other parent's account.
Seeing where technology stands today, parents should always be able to access information whenever it's needed, by whichever parent who needs it. With standalone software, there are too many factors that could get in the way of this happening. The OurFamilyWizard® web and mobile apps are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via any device that has access to the Internet.