For parents who are either separated or going through a divorce, you know that one of the most important tasks is to develop a comprehensive parent schedule. You can pay an expensive attorney to build one from scratch, or you can use software to help form a calendar for your attorney to use as a framework, potentially saving you thousands.
Our Family Wizard is the industry leading parenting plan software solution. But, is it the right software for your parenting plan, custody schedule, and inter-parent communication needs? Keep reading to find out.
Our Family Wizard is much more than just a custody calendar. It's a complete child custody software solution for both parents and family courts. Here are some of the great features both co-parents get access to if you start using it:
- A customize and interactive parenting time calendar for easy coordination of parenting time schedules
- A secure virtual message board for communication between co-parents
- An expense log to track shared expenses
- A customizable journal for both private and shared entires
While the above features should be enough to win you over, there's actually so much more you can do with Our Family Wizard.
To be very clear here, this piece of software has so many features, it's hard to really only talk about a few. The major strength of it is the fact that you get one all-inclusive platform that connects a whole array of smaller useful tools in one place.
It's also very well put together. The fact that many family courts actually mandate the usage of One Family Wizard means the company has a very steady cash flow. With that cash flow they have the resource to constantly update and improve their software, which is very important.
Of of the more impressive features that OFW offers is something that they call their ToneMeter. It's a tool they own the trademark for and that other similar co-parenting tools on the market do not have.
What ToneMeter does is take any messages you want to send to the other co-parent through the software and analyze it before you send it. It checks to make sure you aren't using an overly aggressive tone that might be taken the wrong way as a message in text form does not contain many of the subtleties that face-to-face communication does, like body language.
It works on a scale from zero to four. A calm cool tone will not set off the Tone Meter, but an angry message will raise it all the way to four bars. You can edit your messages and see the tone changes in real time on both the web version and the app.
It's a fairly sophisticated tool, and it works both on the website version and mobile app version of the software.
The company also offers lots of support. They have a lot of freely accessible information on how to set up your calendar and make it fit whatever schedule is on your agreement, non mater if it's a 50/50, 2-2-3, 2-2-5-5, or something else.
What Needs Work
As great as the product is overall, there are a few minor hiccups now and again. One of the most common problems tends to come when trying to print a calendar or summary of messages from the desktop version.
Sometimes, the first attempt at printing yields nothing but a black paper. You might need to try and print again to get what you're looking for. This doesn't seem to happen all the time for everyone, but it is something to keep a lookout for. It's more of a minor inconvenience than a major problem though as you can still eventually get a hardcopy of what you want.
Talking Parents vs Our Family Wizard
While Talking Parents is a tool co-parents in a high-conflict situation can use for communication, it's not really a true Our Family Wizard alternative. It's a fine piece of software, but it's much more limited in its features and functionality.
The first major difference you'll notice is that Talking Parents is that they market it as a free tool, but it's not actually free. It's full of ads, which can be very distracting. And, to get all of the features to work properly, you have to upgrade to a paid premium account.
It's also mostly just a communication tool and not something for creating and maintaining parenting plans and calendars.
Custody X Change vs Our Family Wizard
Custody X Change is another potential alternative. However, like Talking Parents, it's not as much of an all around tool as it is something that is more specialized.
Custody X Change has two versions. It's has an older downloadable piece of software, and a newer cloud-based app. It appears their new goal is to slowly move everyone on to the new app and away from the old versions.
Also like Talking Parents, they offer a free version. But, that free version is extremely limited. It's more like a free trial that lets you peek inside but cuts off most of the premium versions' functionality.
The main pro for Custody X Change is that the software is very good with helping you make parenting plans and custody schedules. The communication tools are much more limited than what you get with Our Family Wizard however, so many family courts working with high-conflict families push OFW instead.
It's not a bad piece of parenting plan software, it's just a limited one.
The Final Word
The Our Family Wizard website and app are excellent tools for managing your co-parenting situation. It really is a tool that covers all of your needs.
It's useful for parents because it assists with and records all inter-parental communication, it helps with creating and maintaining your custody calendar, it offers journaling for you to keep as a private record, share with your co-parent, or share with the judge, and it makes keeping track of all you shared expenses a breeze.
Best of all, it comes with a 3- day money back guarantee, so if you try it and don't like it, you can get a refund making it risk free.