Tool for divorced parents to move past the screaming stage

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In the heated aftermath of a divorce, the children shuffled between parents can sometimes serve as a battleground to continue the conflict. This, of course, makes the kids ammunition, not a situation likely to lead to a happy childhood.

A new website, Our Family Wizard, proposes to serve as a intermediary by providing both parents the opportunity to create schedules to share their children's time and obligations. The parents can negotiate who will do what with whom, track expenses, and share a database of crucial info such as the children's doctors, teachers, and extra-curricular activity contacts.

All negotiations and communications can be done via email within the program, which provides a trail of documentation and (theoretically) helps avoid those shouting matches in the driveway over who paid for Bobby's last pair of Nikes.

The couple (or the court, should it decide to mandate use of this or some similar system, which I suspect is key to the site's business plan) can also add a professional to the process, one who can monitor exchanges, making sure that the children are properly cared for and civility is maintained to the degree necessary between the parents. The site also serves those doing long-distance parenting, foster care families, restricted contact relationships, and other families in distress.

I find it sad that such a site is needed, but having seen how bitter such conflicts can be, this seems like it could be a useful tool to defuse the combatants and keep the focus on providing for the children.

The site is not free, however; a six-month subscription is $55 per parent, $99 for a year, or $179 for two years. Divorce attorneys and other professionals can buy accounts in bulk. That might be the saddest fact of all.

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