Co-parenting is not always easy. As part of a divorce settlement, parents need to hammer out the details of a child custody agreement - a document that will determine how much time the child will spend with each parent and outlines each spouses' parental responsibilities and rights. Monthly child support must also be determined, though this usually follows a set formula laid down by the state of Minnesota.
Divorce, unfortunately, can be a trying and acrimonious process, one that can wear down the goodwill that exists between the two spouses. Following the divorce, spouses may find it difficult to work together and follow the terms of the child support agreement.
A new piece of technology seeks to change this trend by giving divorced parents the tools they need to manage their co-parenting lives.
The software is called SupportPay, and it was developed by a woman who is both a child of divorce and a divorced mother herself. In beginning development of the software, she noted that no comparable products existed on the market at that time.
SupportPay facilitates the co-parenting process by tracking the amount of money that noncustodial parents owe in child support and also recording the items on which that money is spent.
This second feature is an important one. Noncustodial parents say a common roadblock in their co-parenting relationship is the idea that the former spouse may be spending the child support money on themselves, not their child. This idea can lead to raw feelings and an acrimonious relationship. By recording the purchases made on behalf of the child, both parents can see exactly how the money is being spent. This can improve the goodwill between parents.
The program though, available to the public, is still in a relatively early version of development. The developer hopes that future versions will include a calendar that custodial parents can update with important upcoming events in the child's life, such as band concerts or sports games. This could help noncustodial parents stay involved with the child's upbringing, further strengthening the co-parenting relationship.
Xconomy, "Using Tech to De-Stress Child Support" Bernadette Tansey, Nov. 05, 2013