Wisdom//

Because Kids Do Better When Parents Get Along

This new tool helps you put your differences aside and work together to take control of your co-parenting decisions.

Westend61/ Getty Images
Westend61/ Getty Images

Kids do much better when parents get along. But the sad truth is many children experience excessive levels of toxic stress from exposure to their parents’ ongoing conflict during — and even after — divorce. That’s the reason I set out to create the coParenter platform.  I will tell you from experience (and any honest family law professional will agree) if you’re going to court, it’s nearly impossible to protect your children from exposure to your conflict. That’s because you’re human and court can be an excruciatingly inhumane experience.  It’s time consuming, emotionally draining, and insanely expensive.

Once you’re in ‘the system’, the simplest co-parenting decisions regularly become drawn-out court battles. In fact, most cases — up to 80% — do not require legal intervention. Yet court is exactly where many families end up. They’re not necessarily legal issues, they’re co-parenting ones. This is our point of inspiration.

When I was going through my divorce, I used what tools and apps were available but was really disappointed with the options.  Using yet another calendar to manage my parenting time was annoying; tracking shared expenses and managing support required way too much work; and documenting communication to ‘eliminate the he said/she said’ was good enough for gathering evidence — but if you’re in that mindset, you’re guaranteeing yourself return visits to court.

If you’ve ever been threatened with, had to prepare for — or worse yet — spent a day in family court, you know the toxic toll that can have on you. And by extension, on your kids.  

I wasn’t at all interested in Family Court Groundhog Day.  What I (and, I suspect, other parents who want what’s best for their kids) wanted, was a platform to help decrease acrimony, streamline parental decision-making and give me and my co-parent tools to collaborate, cooperate and communicate effectively.   I knew there had to be a better way, so I banded together with my dear friend and colleague Eric Weiss — the brains behind our tech — and the Honorable Sherrill Ellsworth, former presiding judge, 10-year veteran of the family bench and expert in all things family law — to reimagine the process and design technology that would help separated divorced and never-married parents put their kids at the center of their new co-parenting relationship. Not in the Middle.

We also brought together an impressive team of advisors and collaborators which included some of the nation’s leading family law lawyers, mediators, judges, psychologists, child well-being advocates, behavioral scientists and app developers.

And that was the birth of the coParenter platform.  

coParenter integrates familiar technologies — such as communication tools, schedules, and calendars, even language filters — to gut check when addressing issues with your ex (with integrated AI to help parents predict and prevent conflict)  before it even occurs. Not only can you have hi-fidelity communication with your co-parent, the app allows you to seamlessly build, communicate and collaborate with your support ‘Team’— all of whom receive a free account with your subscription. That means you can work directly with your lawyer, mediator, financial expert, family and friends as well as your child’s doctors, teachers or caregiver.  

Users can create mandatory agreements (like parenting schedules and holiday plans) and all of the stipulations that make up a custody/parenting plan, and they can do so with or without the help of an on-demand co-parenting professional. With one tap, co-parents can access an experienced expert who can coach them towards child-centric decisions, resolve disputes, and mediate agreements quickly, safely and legally.

Over the past year, we’ve been actively testing coParenter in various family law courts, self-help and family mediation centers, and law firms.  During this period, our on-demand professionals have mediated thousands of agreements, parenting plans and holiday schedules — all of which are critical in a productive, ongoing co-parenting relationship.  The net result is that parents avoid conflict and stay out of court, saving time and money.

If you’re separating, divorced or were never married, check out coParenter for iPhone here or from the Google Play Store here, or simply visit https://coparenter.com/. And if your co-parent won’t work with you on the app, you can still use most features in ‘SoloMode’

I urge you to take a step back, put your differences aside and work together to take control of your co-parenting decisions. It’ll save you time, money and stress. But, more importantly, it’ll make your kid’s life better.

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