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The Best Co-parenting App: Which One is Right for Your Family?

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Just about every day, I see a stepmom asking for suggestions on the best co-parenting app for communication. Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, parents in all types of shared parenting situations often need assistance communicating and coordinating custody schedules.

If your blended family tends to operate smoothly, there are still times when someone forgets who agreed to what. “What time did we agree to trade?” or “No, you promised me I could have her on her birthday this year!” are just two of the countless pieces of miscommunication that can unravel.

If you practice parallel parenting, it’s easy to elect not to share information, just for the sake of not speaking to the other household. Suddenly, school events are missed, doctor appointments happen with only one parent’s knowledge, and tension continues to rise.

Lastly, if co-parenting is pretty much non-existent between the two households, it can be challenging to find a way to communicate that stays on-topic and emotion-free. When you need to access documentation in a pinch, it’s difficult to remember what exactly was said, and when it happened.

The Best Co-parenting App: Which One is Right for Your Family?

Enter, Co-parenting Apps!

Finding a method of sharing information between two homes is a daunting task. Texts are messy, emails go unresolved, and there’s nothing like a phone call to bring out the petty in everyone.

Did you know there are apps made specifically to help blended families communicate and coordinate?!

When I found out these apps existed—and that in many instances, they can be accessed by the attorney, written into the custody agreement, etc.—I was blown away. Finally, a resolution to the chaos that is sharing information between two homes!

I set out on a quest to find the best co-parenting app to help guide you in your quest to find one that will fit your shared parenting needs and budget. I have friends across the country who use these apps, and they have helped me understand the various features and pros and cons of each software.

Disclaimer: All information within this article is current as of September 2019, when it was written. Please note that information may have changed, depending on when you are viewing this article.

Unbroken Homes

App Features:

Messaging? Yes, shown in a timeline format

Calendar? Yes. It includes the custody schedule color-coded by parent and exchange time and location, and you can add extracurricular activities, appointments, etc.

Access to stepparents? Yes, stepparents act as delegates for the bio parent once added.

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? Yes

Expense log? Yes

Web access? Yes

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? You can add someone with “view only” privileges, which would work for a lawyer.

Cost: $9.99/month or $99.99/year; No free account option

Likes & Dislikes:

What is your favorite feature on the app?

The mobile app! I love that I can easily access the calendar on the go at a moment’s notice.

– K.S.

What could be improved?

If you have a customized schedule like we do, you have to be very careful creating your schedule or it could result in a system malfunction.

– K.S.

Final Recommendation:

Overall, would you recommend this app to other stepfamilies?

I recommend Unbroken Homes for users looking for a basic, budget-friendly option, where messaging can occur outside of the app.

– K.S.

You can read more about Unbroken Homes on their website.

Talking Parents

App Features:

Messaging? Yes. And it shows when you sent it, as well as when the other parent viewed it. You can also set up email alerts to let you know when you’ve received a message.

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? Yes

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? No

Expense log? No

Web access? Yes

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? Yes

Cost: $5.99/month; Free if you only use the website version (no mobile app)

Likes & Dislikes:

What is your favorite feature on the app?

The fact that is shows the exact time the other parent has read your messages, so there is never a dispute about someone not getting or reading the message.

– B.L.

What could be improved?

I wish the messages were more like a continuous text stream, but it’s laid out more like email. I also don’t like that it forces you to have the premium account in order to use it, making it either $3.99 or $4.99 monthly.

– B.L.

Final Recommendation:

Overall, would you recommend this app to other stepfamilies?

I definitely overall would recommend it!

– B.L.

You can read more about Talking Parents on their website.

Our Family Wizard

App Features:

Messaging? Yes. The messaging service is laid out more like an email platform vs. a text message conversation.

Calendar? Yes. It allows you to build in your custody schedule for an easy at-a-glance monthly look. There is also a list (day) view that is more detailed with exchange times. You can even include things like activities, extracurriculars or school events for each child.

Access to stepparents? Yes

Document storage? Yes, “Info Bank”

Time swap requests? Yes

Expense log? Yes

Web access? Yes

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? Yes, as well as any other 3rd parties you want to provide access to. You can also limit each person’s access based on his or her need-to-know.

Bonus Features: There is a “tone meter” feature you can purchase that helps recognize high conflict verbiage so the writer can adjust before sending.

Cost: $119.92/year, or $209.97 for 2-years; No free account option

Likes & Dislikes:

What is your favorite feature on the app?

I use the calendar feature several times a week. It helps me keep our family organized and plan for future events based on when we’ll have my stepdaughter.

– K.C.

What could be improved?

My biggest pet peeve about it might sound trivial but when replying to a message, it does not show you the text from the previous message(s) in the thread. This can get annoying when messages are long and filled with a lot that requires a response.

– K.C.

Final Recommendation:

Overall, would you recommend this app to other stepfamilies?

I would recommend this to two types of stepfamilies – high conflict or extremely organized. There are a ton of features in it that often go unused, so for the price tag, $100-$120/annually, it’s not necessarily worth it if you’re just going to use the messaging and basic calendar features. But with the added features and court access, it can be extremely beneficial to a lot of families.

– K.C.

You can read more about Our Family Wizard on their website.

AppClose

App Features:

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? Yes, 3rd parties

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? Yes

Expense log? Yes

Web access? No

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? No

Cost: Free

Likes & Dislikes:

What is your favorite feature on the app?

I love all of the features. It’s very comparable to Our Family Wizard, but I think it is more user friendly. I like the expense and reimbursement features.

– C.O.

What could be improved?

An improvement would be allowing lawyers/judges to access information.

– C.O.

Final Recommendation:

Overall, would you recommend this app to other stepfamilies?

Yes, especially if you want a good app that has lots of bells and whistles similar to Our Family Wizard but is offered for free.

– C.O.

You can read more about AppClose on their website.

2Houses

App Features:

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? Yes

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? Yes

Expense log? Yes

Web access? Yes

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? Yes

Cost: $149.99/year; Free 14 day trial

Likes & Dislikes:

What is your favorite feature on the app?

Personally, nothing specific makes it stand out vs. the other apps since they have revamped their systems. However, not sure if the other apps offer a discounted rate for multiple years or a “lifetime” subscription but 2Houses does. They do promotions and the lifetime subscription was $350 if I am remembering correctly, which is a significant savings at the usual $150 per year subscription. If money is typically tight or fluctuates, this is a great option to take ongoing expenses out of the picture.

– O.L.

What could be improved?

The calendar. The calendar is super annoying because you have to sit and click through it, vs. in Talking Parents you can zoom out to the year and choose a specific month and day.
The time swap requests. I wish it would timestamp when it was seen.
Messaging. I wish messaging was timestamped with the date and time it was read by the other party.
Tone Meter. I wish it had a “tone meter” like Our Family Wizard.
3rd Party Messaging. Right now, 3rd parties can only see messages if they’re tagged. I wish it would allow them access to previous messages sent.
GPS Timestamp. I wish it had a GPS time stamp showing the locations and times of trades.

– O.L.

Final Recommendation:

Overall, would you recommend this app to other stepfamilies?

Yes, but I would still suggest looking at Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents, as well.

You can read more about 2Houses on their website.

Other Co-parenting Apps

The apps discussed above are the ones that my friends use, and the recommendations are straight from them! Here are some other co-parenting apps that you may want to consider in your search, with their vital information included:

coParenter

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? Yes

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? Yes

Expense log? Yes

Web access? No

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? Yes

Bonus Features: Live, unlimited, on-demand mediators available; GPS mapping to document child exchanges.

Cost: $12.99/month or $119.99/year for one parent; $199.99/year for both parents (co-parents); Free 30 day trial

You can read more about coParenter on their website.

Fayr

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? No

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? No

Expense log? Yes

Web access? No

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? No

Bonus Features: Location check-ins (GPS)

Cost: $4.99/month; No free account option

You can read more about Fayr on their website.

Truece

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? Yes

Document storage? Yes

Time swap requests? No

Expense log? Yes

Web access? No

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? No

Cost: Free, $50/year, and $99/year options

You can read more about Truece on their website.

coparently

Messaging? Yes

Calendar? Yes

Access to stepparents? No

Document storage? No

Time swap requests? No

Expense log? Yes

Web access? Yes

Mobile access? Yes

Lawyer access? No

Bonus Feature: Contact book

Cost: $9.99/month or $99/year; 30 day free trial

You can read more about coparently on their website.


The Best Co-parenting App: Bottom Line

Choosing the best co-parenting app for your family doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Download our comparison chart to see a full comparison chart of all of these co-parenting apps. I hope this helps!

Whether you’re looking to get organized with a co-parenting app or you’re seeking a communication tool to limit the other home’s high conflict behavior, stepmomming comes with many stressors. If you’d like guidance as you navigate this journey, book a 1-on-1 stepmom coaching session with Stepmomming founder Kristen, and learn tips and tools

P.S. Are you still trying to figure out a custody schedule? Here’s our comparison of the most common 50/50 joint custody schedules.

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