Benefits and dangers of using co-parenting apps

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ROANOKE, Va. – As local courtrooms are ordering parents in custody battles to use co-parenting apps, 10 News looked into the pros and cons of their usage.

“Our Family Wizard” is one of several apps now available on the app store for people co-parenting in volatile situations.

“Having practiced family law myself, I know that sometimes what starts out as a pretty smooth sailing between parents can go awry,” Danielle Kestnbaum of the co-parenting app OurFamilyWizard, said.

The apps are free or paid. You can sign up on your own, but local judges also order parents in a dispute having difficulty communicating to use one.

They allow you to have limited contact with your ex — only talking about what’s necessary through recorded phone calls or texts.

“None of the communication can be altered or deleted in any way,” Kestnbaum said. “Folks tend to move to their best behavior because they’re aware that everything that they write can be seen by a judge or a lawyer.”

The apps have multiple functions. You can make payments, share medical records and have your location tracked when meeting up with your child’s parent.

“We have GPS-enabled check-in feature where they can show where they’ve arrived,” Kestnbaum said. “One of the big things is that they do not have to have one another’s email or phone number.”

Roanoke’s Total Action for Progress (TAP) warns an app should never be a substitution for safety planning, such as meeting at a supervised safe exchange zone, or trying to develop conflict resolution skills.

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