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Divorce and technology, part one: Online coparenting services

From social media to Skype and online coparenting services, technology is hitting the courtroom like never before. Over the next few blogs, we will discuss the interplay of divorce and technology. Today, we will discuss online coparenting, a technology that judges have started to order in Maryland child custody and divorce cases.

Online software, such as a program called "Our Family Wizard," encourages divorced and divorcing parents to remain cordial in their coparenting discussions by adding a potential third party to the conversation: a judge.

According to Maryland Circuit Court Judge Marvin Kaminetz, "There's a chance that a judge may get to see what they have said to each other. When they used to come to court and say he-said, she-said, now it's right there in black and white."

It appears to be working. Judges around Maryland and at least 43 other states and Washington D.C. are starting to use these online tools in their courtrooms. They believe the tools will help keep parents out of court and, more importantly, keep the peace.

Our Family Wizard has a number of tools to help parents co-parent, including:

  • A calendar, which the children can also use to figure out when they are with their mom or dad
  • An information bank, which includes school information and health records
  • A vaccination schedule to help ensure children get the shots they need to stay healthy
  • An expense log, which helps parents split expenses
  • A message board that allows parents to communicate with each other without losing their emails

There are even applications for the iPhone that provide coparenting guidance.

Coparenting software is not the best choice for everyone. Not everyone has frequent access to computers and many parents don't need the added expense when they are capable of managing schedules on their own. What matters is that you and the other parent have a plan that works for both of you and adds the least amount of distress to your child's life.

Source: NBC Washington, "Divorce couples forced to co-parent online," Angie Goff, Feb. 29, 2012.

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