After Divorce, the Only Thing That Helped Me Talk to My Ex Was the Our Family Wizard App
Coparenting after my divorce was tough, but thankfully, I had Our Family Wizard (a scheduling app) to help keep my ex-husband and I on the same page about our kids. Nothing could have prepared me for life after divorce as a mother; the details of life in two homes were overwhelming. The kids struggle to remember whose day it is and we, as parents, are responsible for tracking the details of scheduling, finances, sports, and special occasions. While our marriage was over, our relationship as coparents was just beginning. Communication in those early years wasn't easy, and we argued just as much, if not more, than when we were married. I couldn't help but wonder what the purpose of getting divorced was.
And while it was messy, complicated, and stressful, I was thankful for tools like Our Family Wizard to help ease the pain. For us, a divorced couple parenting with a 50-50 custody arrangement, Our Family Wizard acted as a liaison between our two homes. In fact, it was designed specifically to "uncomplicate your communication" with your coparent — something I especially needed. Here's everything I've learned from using Our Family Wizard. Hopefully, it can help you coparent more peacefully, too.
Who Should Use Our Family Wizard?
I think Our Family Wizard is a great resource for any set of coparents, particularly those in high-conflict divorce. If you have ever found yourself in an ongoing argument about who said what (and when) with your ex, I think you'll find the app extremely helpful. It can also be used by lawyers, mediators, counselors, and other professionals to simplify and/or monitor client communications.
I used with my ex-husband for the initial (postdivorce) year at the suggestion of my therapist, who often heard about the stress and resentment that was building in our relationship as we attempted to navigate life as parents after divorce. We both kind of scoffed at the idea initially, but it certainly taught us how to communicate in healthier ways.
Why Use Our Family Wizard?
Coparenting is no easy feat, as I know firsthand. It requires a great deal of patience, tongue-biting, compromise, organization, and attention to detail. You will likely be in contact with your ex more than you imagined. What I love about Our Family Wizard is that it offers one-stop shopping for all things coparenting.
Everything you need to stay organized and in healthy communication with your fellow coparent is available on one website (or phone app). Simply log in to access the family calendar, expenses and bank info, messaging system, and more. One of my favorite features is the very straightforward method for requesting schedule trades, which will allow your coparent to either accept or deny your request, leaving no room for commentary. A simple yes or no is all you need anyways, right?
How Much Does Our Family Wizard Cost?
Oh, yes, I remember the days of lawyer fees, filing motions, and the struggle to establish a new, financial independence. The struggle is real, and the last thing you want to do is incur yet another new expense for an app. I was relieved to find out that Our Family Wizard offers a no-questions-asked 30-day trial period. So, if after 30 days you decide this tool just isn't worth the extra dough, you'll get a full refund. The app offers a variety of plans as well, where you customize a package (à la carte pricing) that fits your needs and commit to either a one-year (about $119) or two-year-plan (about $209). For those who can't make that pricing work, there is a fee waiver program for which you can download an application online.
We opted for a bundled one-year membership that included the helpful Tone Meter tool at no extra cost. This plan worked great for us, and after that first year, we had learned effective methods for healthy communication; we applied these to email and texting successfully. For us, Our Family Wizard was a teaching tool as much as a coparenting convenience, so there was no need to renew our membership after one year of assisted (healthy) communication.
How Does the Our Family Wizard Messaging Differ From Text and Email?
I can't tell you how many times I sent an important text message to my ex that he swore he never received — and vice versa! While we may never know if our messages truly did go MIA (or if we, as frustrated divorcées, were selectively remembering which messages we had received and read), that's never happened with Our Family Wizard messaging. The app has a sent folder where you can confirm that a message was delivered. It will also tell you the time and date that your coparent first opened a message, which is one of my favorite features. Another great feature: deleted messages are automatically saved in the trash folder for 30 days. These features increase accountability and reliability for both parties.
Does Our Family Wizard Track Finances?
Our Family Wizard has a section devoted primarily to finances, and while it may seem tedious to upload your information, it's worth the hassle to document all child-related expenses. Both parties enter their banking information into the app (this information is secured and not shared with the other party), and expenses can be scheduled and tracked. Parents also have the option to enter additional payments (checks, money orders, and cash transactions) made outside of the app. This was most helpful in my divorce when it came to all of the unexpected expenses (like field trip costs and sporting equipment) that were not divvied up in the divorce papers. The extra work is definitely worth it, too, especially if you find yourself arguing over money often.
What Is Our Family Wizard's Tone Meter?
I personally believe every cell phone should come with a built-in tone meter, but that's for another day. The optional, add-on feature will analyze your messages before you send them and alert you if a particular statement is upsetting or aggressive. Our Family Wizard describes it as an "emotional spell check." How freaking cool is that? Don't worry, even if your tone needs some improvement, you can still send the message if you like, but I don't suggest telling your ex-spouse that you don't like his new haircut.
What Else Does Our Family Wizard Do?
Additional, more-intimate features are available, and they make you feel like you have your very own private Facebook or Instagram community. You can create a moment (just like a photo post on Facebook) to share memories with your coparent and let them know what you and the kids are doing. Likewise, you can check in at locations and send a message to let your coparent know that you have arrived for pick-up or drop-off or the morning soccer game. My kids loved that mom and dad were sending photos and messages about our adventures together; it really helped keep all of us connected in a meaningful (and argument-free) way.
Do the Kids Have an Our Family Wizard Account, Too?
Our Family Wizard does offer optional third party accounts that you can set up for your children (or grandparents and other caregivers). These accounts grant limited access to the calendar and moments sections, so that you can maintain your privacy when it comes to your personal messages and financial information. I had them for my kids, and they loved logging in to get a look at the custody schedule for the week ahead and checking in to see if Dad commented on our latest photos.
My Final Thoughts on Our Family Wizard
While reviews truly run the gamut, I found that the site/app works as a great buffer between coparents. While we only used the app temporarily to get us through a tough time, we learned how to coparent successfully (without the use of Our Family Wizard) in the end. I can't recommend it enough to other coparents.