Online Shared-Parenting Tool – A Review of 2houses


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2houses-co-parenting-app-screenManaging your child’s daily schedule can be hard. It can be even harder after a separation or divorce, especially when you have a shared parenting arrangement.

Communicating with your co-parent might not always be easy and if this is getting in the way of your child’s routine then you might find 2houses to be useful.

2houses is a generally free, online shared-parenting facilitator.

The website and iPhone app provides you and your co-parent with tools to help manage your child’s day-to-day activities.

2houses can help you stay on top of your child’s schedules and events as well as the finances associated with your child.

How does 2houses work?

Signing up

We begin with a simple, free sign up process to create your account. Once you have signed up and logged in, follow the ‘progression’ prompts to link your account to your co-parent’s 2houses account. Both of you will have your own account. From here on, any schedules or events that you update for your child can be seen by your co-parent.

Schedules

Schedules are your custody agreements. When creating one you can select which days your child will be with you and which days they will be with your co-parent. Schedules will show up on your calendar so you can have an overview of where your child will be for the week, month or even year. You will have your regular schedule and you can also make separate schedules for different periods, for example, school holidays.

Events

Events are special occasions that you may want your co-parent to be aware of, or if you just want to keep track of yourself. Your child might be competing at a sports carnival or performing in a concert and you may want to keep your co-parent informed. Events can be set to repeat. For example, if your child has swimming lessons every Saturday you can set this event to repeat instead of making a new event each week.

Change Requests

Change requests can be sent from one parent to the other. This is used when you want to make a change to the existing schedule. For example, if you want your child to stay with you on a day your co-parent is scheduled to take care of them, or if you want your child to stay with your co-parent on a day you are scheduled to take care of them. Once a change request is sent, your co-parent can then accept or decline the request. If they accept the request your schedule and calendar will automatically be updated to reflect this change.

Finances

This section can help you keep track of your finances. In this section you can log expenses, request payments from your co-parent and keep track of child support payments. When you log an expense you can allocate a percentage of contribution from your co-parent. This can be seen by both parents and will help you keep track of how much your co-parent owes you. You can then request a payment from your co-parent. The child support section allows you to set a monthly payment for child support and this will show up on your calendar as a reminder.

Wish List

The wish list section serves as just that, a wish list for your child. You can suggest to your co-parent any presents or things your child may want or need and allocate a percentage of contribution.

Album and Journal

In these sections you can add photos and videos for your co-parent to see and write about anything you may want to share with your co-parent.

Information Bank

2houses also serves as a place to store information. In the information bank, you can add thingssuch as shoe size to Medicare number. This can be useful when shopping or in an emergency and you are unable to contact your co-parent.

What are its benefits?

2houses-infobankThe best thing about 2houses is the calendar. Having a visual tool can really help with planning. For example, if your child stays with you every second weekend, you could look ahead on the calendar to see if you have custody for that long weekend.

This calendar and its reporting features can be quite handy if disputing the amount of time the children have spent with one parent or the other during the course of a year, if for instance trying to determine the Family Tax Benefit split between the two co-parents.

Another great thing about 2houses is the notification service. You can opt to receive notifications by email and/or SMS whenever a schedule, event or change request has been made or edited by your co-parent. This ensures you are aware of any changes without needing to constantly log in.

2houses also provides you with support. Any questions you may have about the website or iPhone app can be sent to 2houses via the messaging service (I received a reply within 12 hours, on a Sunday).

Overall, the website and iPhone app are really simple to use. Most actions are completed by selecting icons and drop-down lists or clicking on calendar dates. There are also helpful articles, videos and help boxes within the website and iPhone app that could solve any issues you may have.

What are its drawbacks?

Something that may cause unnecessary issues with your co-parent is the finances section. If you forget to log some expenses and then request a payment for them your co-parent might become suspicious. Logging all of your expenses onto 2houses might also be a time consuming task. But you can always choose not to use the finances section.

Does it help in co-parenting of children?

2houses can be very useful in co-parenting situations as it provides you with the tools to help with planning. But it still requires a certain level of commitment and communication from both sides to make it work. Simply adding schedules and events does not guarantee cooperation. However, it does serve as a convenient place for co-parents to keep in touch. If the parents are not on speaking terms then 2houses can be the ideal tool to ease the process.

Tony Ko

Tony Ko

Online Legal Information Author at Family Law Express
Tony is currently studying law and business at the University of Western Sydney. He has a keen interest in civil liability and hopes to work in the area upon graduation.
Tony Ko
Categories: Mobile Apps, Shared Parenting, Technology, Website
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