OurFamilyWizard is a co-parenting app. Its goal is to help divorced parents communicate, manage their children’s schedules, and share important documents.
We paid for a 1-year subscription ($144) to OurFamilyWizard to test it out.
In this review, we cover why you might want to use a co-parenting app, what OurFamilyWizard has to offer, and whether it’s worth the money.
Overall, we think OurFamilyWizard is a fantastic app with few drawbacks, earning it a rare 5-star rating.
What are co-parenting apps and who are they for?
Divorced parents use co-parenting apps for several reasons, including:
To be more organized when it comes to scheduling parenting time or visitation, including pick-ups and drop-offs
To centralize communication with the other parent, either for the convenience of doing so or so that there’s a clear record of who said (or didn’t say) what
As a way of tracking and managing children’s expenses
Because a court ordered them to use an app to improve their communication or organization
All of the basic tasks of co-parenting can be done without a dedicated app. Parents can call or text each other, they can set up a shared calendar to schedule parenting time or visitation, they can email about their children’s activities, they can keep a log of what they spent on the children and how much each parent needs to contribute.
For parents who are able to communicate effectively and who are well-organized, all of this works just fine.
For most divorced parents, however, communicating with the other parent is a headache, staying organized is challenging, and tracking expenses for the kids is just another inconvenience. Frankly, most things are harder in the immediate wake of a divorce.
It’s parents like these who find an app like OurFamilyWizard useful. Consider trying a co-parenting app if you:
Struggle to communicate with the other parent, or if the other parent is abrasive, nasty or difficult in their communication to you
Have a complicated parenting time or visitation schedule that’s tough to keep track of
Have an informal parenting time or visitation schedule that changes month-to-month
Have trouble getting the other parent to contribute to essential child-related expenses
Are constantly nagged by the other parent for information that could be shared via an app
Struggle to keep all the information about your children’s activities written down for the other parent, even if you do just fine running around day-to-day
Finally, if you foresee trouble with the other parent down the road and you think you might end up in court in the future, using a co-parenting app is a great way of keeping a record of all your interactions so you have evidence of each other’s behavior when you need it in court.
What does OurFamilyWizard have to offer?
Released in 2001, OurFamilyWizard was the very first co-parenting app on the market. It’s certainly the most popular, with over half a million families having used it to-date.
When it comes to features, OurFamilyWizard has a lot going on. The main parts of the app are:
Calendar: for scheduling parenting time and visitation, as well as children’s activities
Messaging: a centralized, secure way of communicating with the other parent
Journal: track and share family moments and last-minute schedule changes, and record your location to prove that you actually were where you say you were (e.g. if you’re going to pick up your kids, this will prove that you were where you said you’d be, when you said you’d be there)
Expense Tracking: scan receipts and request payment from or pay back the other parent
Info Bank: for storing and sharing vital information, such as teacher contact info, children’s insurance policy numbers, coach’s phone numbers, and more
We’ll cover each of these one-by-one.
At first glance, the calendar looks just like any other. But it’s got a powerful feature that parents will rely on daily.
What makes the OurFamilyWizard calendar so useful is that it streamlines the process of scheduling parenting time or visitation. It offers many common schedules and allows parents to create their own custom schedule. It also lets parents easily tweak schedules to accommodate one-off changes.
One parent’s time is shown in blue, the other in green. The calendar even lets parents specify pick-up and drop-off times.
Additionally, the calendar lets parents schedule events like any other calendar. The soccer game, the dance class, the parent-teacher conference — all of these can be scheduled and shared with the other parent in just a few taps.
OurFamilyWizard’s messaging encourages parents to keep all their communications in the same place. If you want, it will send you email or push notifications when you get a new message.
Centralizing messaging between parents is helpful for a few reasons:
If communicating with the other parent is stressful, it keeps those messages out of email and other messaging apps
If returning to court is a possibility, keeping a record of all communications in an easy-to-access place is a good idea
On an as-needed basis, parents can provide access to professionals, such as family lawyers or mediators
OurFamilyWizard offers the ability to warn parents when their tone is no long cordial. It’s called ToneMeter and costs extra. Based on one advertisement on their website for ToneMeter, we’re skeptical how useful it would be to anyone but the most clueless of people (Who goes out of their way to tell someone they don’t like their new haircut? And for those people who do, is an app nagging them really going to tamp down on that kind of nastiness?).
The journal is a feature that strikes us as one used only by parents who have a tough time co-parenting.
It’s intended to be a place where parents can record “memories” and “check-ins”, but why parents would choose to use this instead of social media, or email, or text message, etc. — isn’t clear. Unlike the calendar feature, which has uniquely useful capabilities, the journal doesn’t offer much for parents who are doing OK.
For parents who struggle to maintain an effective co-parent relationship, however, the journal is much more useful.
First, it allows for check-ins. That’s when one parent is somewhere and they want to record that fact. For example, when one parent is supposed to pick up the kids from the other parent, they might want to record that they did so. This could be useful in a future court hearing.
Second, the memories feature becomes more like a means of documenting facts rather than cheery family memories. A parent could use it to record that on a certain date their child told them how the other parent was disparaging them (which is almost always forbidden by the court’s custody order). If they are diligent about recording these incidents, that could be useful in a future court hearing — it’s not proof, in this case, but could still be useful.
If you’ve ever used an expense tracking app for work, then you know what to expect with the OurFamilyWizard expense tracker.
If you haven’t used one, then it lets parents take photos of receipts or manually input child-related expenses and then request payment from the other parent. It also keeps a record of past expenses and payments (or non-payments).
This can be great even for well-functioning co-parents since it’s a convenient one-stop-shop for staying on top of all children’s expenses. This is not something banking apps or personal finance apps are typically well-suited for. For example, one unique feature it offers is the ability to define what percent of an expense, or entire category of expenses, each parent is responsible for. Letting parents set categories makes entering individual expenses much quicker.
The Info Bank is all about tracking and sharing vital pieces of information about the children.
In the Info Bank you can view and edit contact info for teachers, coaches, doctors, and other important people both parents would need to talk to. You can document insurance information, school records, and extracurriculars. You can also upload files and photos if you need to document something outside the existing topics.
The point of the info bank is to keep all the important information about the children in one place, so parents don’t have to keep asking the other for some number or name that they’ve forgotten.
In order for each parent to play a major role in their children’s lives, they each need to know who else the children interact with day-to-day, what information the doctor’s office needs, and how things are going at school. The Info Bank helps with all of that.
What does OurFamilyWizard cost?
There are many pricing options for OurFamilyWizard. Too many, in our opinion. To keep it short, the default package they advertise is the Essentials plan and costs $144 per parent per year. That’s $12 per month. You can save some money by paying for two years in advance (then it’s $10.80 per month or $129.60 per year).
The cheapest plan costs $99 per parent per year ($8.25 per month). To find this, on the pricing page pick “Choose your own” and then make sure to not select any add-on options.
Most parents will be satisfied with the “Essentials” plan. If you’re short on money, see if they will offer a discount, especially if you can provide documents that show the court waived your fees.
The customer support team of OFW are available via phone or email on all 7 days of the week and they can help parents with any queries regarding the service and their account. From helping to create the parenting schedule to granting access to professional attorneys, the customer representatives can help parents in all aspects.
OurFamilyWizard sets the standard for co-parenting apps. It’s got value to offer both well-functioning and dysfunctional divorced co-parents. In fact, the scheduling and check-ins could even be useful for parents who aren’t divorced.
If you’re looking for a co-parenting app, you won’t regret giving OurFamilyWizard a try.