The Atlanta Lawyer February / March 2019 - Page 19

comprehensive schedule, com- munication, and information management to facilitate co-par- enting. Apps can help family law clients with things like coordinat- ing parenting time schedules with their ex-spouse, keeping track of expenses and payments, and providing a dedicated platform for communicating about the chil- dren. Also, because all the infor- mation is in one place, it provides evidence that is easily produced by the client, easily reviewed by the attorney, and easily presented in and digested by the court. There are plenty of robust co-par- enting apps from which to choose at a variety of price points. Many co-parenting apps share the same basic services. Most co-parenting apps have in-app communication platforms that range in sophistica- tion from similar to text messaging to more like email. These commu- nications can be downloaded into a single document, showing the entire record of communication between the parties. Co-parenting apps also feature shared calendars, which can sync with other calen- dar platforms, such as Google, and some of which allow you to propose schedule changes on the calendar itself for the other party to accept or reject. Knowing that finances can be a point of conflict, these apps also include systems for tracking child support payments and calculating, requesting, and tracking reimbursements. To keep both parents on the same page, apps include platforms for sharing documents and photos, as well as databases for important contacts like school and doctors. While many co-parenting apps contain the same basic features, there are a few with unique fea- tures that stand out and might be the best fit for a client’s particular situation. For those families who are bi-lingual or multi-lingual, 2houses is available in several lan- guages, including English, French, Italian, and Dutch. When one parent is always late or missing exchanges, Fayr has a geo location log with voluntary check-ins so the parents can each document their arrival at exchanges. Coparently helps the whole family keep track of the schedule by allowing guest access for children or other third parties to view the calendar. Anger or aggression from one (or both) parties and support pay- ment issues are two challenges that can produce extremely high conflict, but co-parenting apps are prepared to address these. Even when using a co-parenting app, it can be too easy for a party to send off a poorly worded message to the other party. Our Family Wizard offers ToneMeter, which analyzes a message and suggests revisions prior to sending, helps users send more appropriate messages to their ex. Some parents are just not going to bother to mail a physical check to the other parent. Smart- Coparent allows in-app payment of child support or reimburse- ments, and it even allows users to pay through PayPal. Budget is often a concern for fami- lies, especially when going through litigation. For families on a tight budget, AppClose is a free co- parenting app that, among other things, can connect with LawPay to process legal fees. One drawback of Appclose is that its messaging platform is in text message format, which is not always the best way to have an in-depth discussion about your kids. However, families can use the app in connection with Talking Parents, which is a free, robust communication platform for co-parents, but Talking Parents lacks some features of other co- parenting apps. While these co-parenting apps are not going to magically resolve your family law case or suddenly make high-conflict parents get along, they can make the experience at least a little better for everyone involved. Whether it is facilitating co-parenting communications, making it easier to coordinate calendars, or providing a platform for document and information sharing, apps ease some of the challenges of a difficult experience. Nonetheless, it is important to note that these apps are not a one-size- fits-all solution. It is important to evaluate each of the apps’ features, pricing, and accessibility to make sure the programs are relevant to a client’s specific needs. The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 19