Tech-Tip: Co-Parenting Apps For the Estranged Family Law Client

By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Navigating a family law matter can be one of the most emotionally painful circumstances someone will ever encounter. By the time a client calls a family law attorney, they are generally in the throes of some of the most difficult times of their lives.

For the legal professional working in family law, you are often tasked with more than providing insight into procedural and substantive issues that relate to their case. Family law professionals must also help clients cope with the stressors associated with their legal proceedings. The ultimate goal is to help the client find some degree of closure so they can begin to move on to the next chapter of their lives. It is very rewarding to know you’ve helped someone through such a difficult time, but it can also be very challenging.

One of the biggest challenges associated with a divorce is co-parenting. The client may feel betrayed and angry. Under these circumstances, emotional intelligence may take a backseat to doing what is best for the children involved. When this occurs, both parties and the children suffer as a result. In a high-conflict divorce there are no winners, only survivors. Attorneys and paralegals are frequently tasked with trying to help their clients work through their legal matters while doing as little damage to themselves, their children, and their case as possible.

Unfortunately, legal professionals cannot always be available to mediate conflict between their clients. For this reason, there are apps that help to facilitate healthy co-parenting. These apps can be very beneficial to clients by helping to eliminate miscommunication, avoid arguments, and protect children. The apps include calendars, message boards, expense logs, journals; and, an information bank that puts all of the insurance, medical, and other important information in one place. The apps also include an unalterable record of communication that can be used to reign in virtual acts of aggression. The use of these apps have been court-ordered in many jurisdictions to facilitate co-parenting between clients. The app plans range from free to roughly $10.00 per month and both apps contain a Dashboard for client usage or legal practitioner usage depending upon how you’d like to set up the account.

The most common apps available today are:

With these apps, family law practitioners can assist parents in finding their way forward. In high conflict cases where parents may have a difficult time building a working co-parenting relationship independently, these apps can ease communication and place an emphasis on accountability.

If you find this month’s “Tech Tip” useful, let us know. If you have a technology concern at work and you want to see if there’s a software or process that can make things easier, email and we’ll try to address it in a future blog post.

Alicia Mitchell-Mercer, LPP, ACP, RP, NCCP, SCCP is a senior paralegal, legal project manager, and consultant in Charlotte, NC. She has a B.S. in Paralegal Studies and a M.S. in Project Management. She is a certified paralegal through the NC State Bar, SC Bar, NALA, and NFPA. She is a certified Legal Project Practitioner through the International Institute of Legal Project Management. Alicia is the Technology Committee Chair and Communications Co-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association, Paralegal Division; and volunteers with the NC GAL program.