As a divorce lawyer on Long Island, I have seen that many couples, after their divorce, find it difficult to communicate with each other calmly and rationally regarding their children. At first, emotions are raw and it is unlikely you wish to engage in any type of communication with your now ex-spouse. After a time, emotions calm down but other issues develop that can complicate the issue.
As children grow older they become involved in a multitude of activities, making it difficult for both parents to enjoy consistent, uninterrupted, scheduled parenting time. The non-custodial parent often begins to feel as though the custodial parent is scheduling doctor’s appointments, swimming lessons or dance classes during his or her parenting time, when, in reality, this may have been the only time available. These types of miscommunications and assumptions are exactly what lead to fights and arguments down the road.
As a divorce attorney serving Suffolk County and Nassau County I encourage my clients to maintain open channels of communication with each other after their divorce is finalized. However, I realize this may be difficult as time goes on and their daily lives become less inter-twined. Therefore, when I received a brochure in the mail for a program called “The Our Family Wizard” I saw it as a useful tool for my clients and any potential clients.
What is “The Our Family Wizard”?
“The Our Family Wizard” is a computer software program designed to minimize miscommunication and arguments between parents who have joint legal custody of their children. Joint legal custody means that both you and your ex-spouse have the right to be involved in major decisions on behalf of your children, such as those relating to education, religion and health. The software, which contains the following features, can be installed on a desktop computer, laptop or downloaded as an application on a mobile smartphone.
1. Calendar. The calendar feature allows you and your ex-spouse to set the parenting schedule as you see fit. You have the ability to input information such as designated parenting time, requests for changes in the parenting schedule and the children’s after school activities or scheduled appointments. Families in Nassau County and Suffolk County use their phones for everything these days. Now, you can swap your old handwritten journal and schedules filled with parenting issues for a simple application on your iPhone, Droid, Blackberry or Kindle Fire. It will most likely be with you all the time and you won’t have to worry about losing that scrap of paper with your child’s reschedule soccer game ever again.
2. Message Board. With the message board you can communicate with your ex-spouse with the ease of an e-mail. You or your ex-spouse will receive an instant notification when the other makes an entry or a request for change on the calendar. This way, there is no chance of miscommunication, or either party failing to receive a message. Each and every message regarding your children is sent via “The Our Family Wizard” secure, private sever.
3. Expense Log. Perhaps the most important feature for Long Island couples who have been divorced in Nassau County or Suffolk County is the expense log. Most parents enter into child support agreements where they are each supposed to pay their pro-rata share of the cost of the children’s unreimbursed medical expenses and extracurricular and educational activities. In reality though, once couples are divorced and the children reside mainly with one parent, that parent tends to absorb the majority of the cost of the children’s day-to-day expenses. To combat this, these expenses can be tracked using “The Our Family Wizard” expense log feature. The paying parent has the ability to input all the appropriate information, including the amount of payment, what it was for and when it was made, and the software will calculate each parent’s pro-rata share. From there, the non-paying parent will receive notification of the payment and their share through the message board. Once the payment is received it may be marked as “paid,” which provides both parents with an easy way to keep track of those payments which are satisfied and those which are due and owning.
“The Our Family Wizard” takes the guess work out of co-parenting. You no longer have to provide your ex-spouse with receipts for every item purchased or co-pay paid for. You no longer have to call your ex-spouse every time you need to request a change in the parenting schedule. Having everything related to your children in one place makes the aftermath of a Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island divorce that much easier.
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