How Using Latest Technology Can Lower Stress During Your Child Custody Lawsuit
The Future is Now
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been practicing law for almost 27 years now. Most of that time, I’ve handled exclusively family court cases dealing with divorce and child custody. When I took my very first family court case, the internet was still something most people didn’t have access to on a regular basis, and smartphones were gadgets only seen in sci-fi films.
We’ve come a long way in 27 years. Now everyone, it seems, is constantly connected to the internet via smartphones that fit in the palm of your hand and have far more capabilities than any desktop computer I had in the late 1990s. As time has passed, I have tried to always stay up to date on the latest technology and find ways to incorporate these tech tools into my practice to help make family court litigation better (or at least a little easier) for my clients.
Here are some of my go-to recommendations for my clients facing child custody cases:
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard has been a staple in family court litigation for many years. They continually add new features and constantly seek to improve upon their core product, making it an easy recommendation for just about any family court attorney handling complex child custody cases regularly.
Some of my favorite features are the shared calendar, which allows parents to enter their parenting schedule into the app creating a color-coded calendar to easily see how the child’s time will be divided between the two homes. It will also accommodate other important dates related to the child or the family, such as doctor appointments, school events, vacations, etc. The parents can also use the calendar to map out days that may need to be traded or adjusted from time to time as work schedules or other time commitments dictate.
They also offer a message board, meant to take the place of emails and text messages, for the parents to communicate about child-related issues. As an attorney, I love the fact that once messages are posted to this board, they can’t be deleted, edited, or retracted. This means that if your case ends up going to trial, you have a clearly documented log of the communication history between the parents. They have also recently added a “Tone Meter,” which helps parents decide if they need to adjust the tone of their message before it is sent to the other parent. I’m sure this tool has helped many litigants sidestep unnecessary fights when communicating with their co-parent.
PowerSchool Parent Portals
I’ve lost count of the number of child custody disputes I have seen over the years that were primarily based on the lack of sharing educational information about the children. When schools began consistently implementing systems like PowerSchool, it was like a gift from heaven for divorced parents. PowerSchool, and other similar systems, give parents a portal where they can individually access their child’s schedules, assignments, grades, attendance, and even email directly with their teachers about their child’s progress or educational needs.
While PowerSchool certainly wasn’t designed for the purpose of helping parents who find themselves involved in family court litigation, I have certainly seen a decrease in the number of parents complaining about being cut out of their child’s educational life. PowerSchool is a program that must be implemented at the district level in most towns and require special codes to register for access to your child’s information, so be sure to ask your child’s school if they use this or some other parent-portal software.
MyChart Medical Portals
Just like my experience with divorced parents fighting over access to a child’s educational records, the same used to be true for parents arguing over the sharing of medical information about their child. That is, until the invention of portals like MyChart.
These systems were originally designed to address a critical need of healthcare professionals to have instantaneous access to a patient’s entire medical record across several hospitals or clinics. The goal was to give doctors the potentially life-saving information they needed to treat patients in the best and quickest way possible. However, once the medical world began to offer individual patient access directly to the patients (or their parents and guardians), it was a game-changer for family law litigants.
Now, child custody agreements routinely include provisions that state specifically each parent shall be given the access information to be able to log in and monitor their child’s health and well-being, get notifications of appointments that are scheduled, and be able to send messages directly to healthcare providers about their health-related concerns for the child.
Patient portal systems are implemented by the medical facility or provider, so be sure to ask your child’s medical providers which system they use and how to obtain access rights to your child’s information with each provider.
Technology has come a long way over the past two, and a half decades, and while it certainly makes some parts of family life more complicated (i.e., arguing with kids over how much online time is too much, as one example), there are many ways it’s improved the way divorced parents can continue to stay involved in their children’s day-to-day lives. If you know of any other new technology or apps that help in these situations, I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re struggling with issues surrounding child custody or need help finding the best ways to build a cooperative parenting agreement with your co-parent, talking with an experienced family court attorney will help. If you’re in South Carolina, contact a trusted family law attorney like Ben Stevens today to discuss your specific situation. Even if you aren’t in South Carolina, Mr. Stevens is happy to offer referrals to a well-qualified attorney located in your state.
Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and he is a Board-Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you or someone you know is facing a divorce, separation, child custody, visitation, or other family law case, contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule a consultation.
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Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
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