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Books and Products for Long Distance Parenting

Review of JointParents.com

JointParents.com is a site built for divorced parents who share custody – with some additional features built in for virtual visitation. It’s made to be an organizer that the divorced parents can use to share and organize information pertaining to the kid(s). It is a monthly subscription service that costs about $10 a month for each parent. You can enter information into web forms pertaining to calendar events, expenses, daily routine (the kids daily routine) and their medical history and they are neatly organized for the reference of one or both parents.

My first reaction was “What a neat idea!” The site is well designed and the software seems to run smoothly and has lots of features. I signed up for a demo account and played around with it. Then… I never went back. Not because the site wasn’t nice or didn’t have great features or because I didn’t like it – but just because I really had no need for it.

This site would be great and totally useful for either divorced parents who get along really well or single parents who don’t have much technical knowledge, have expendable income and who aren’t self-organizers. I would even add one point of usefulness for long distance parents because the webcam features were so easy to use. That said, for anyone who has been divorced and dealt with custody issues for a few years, you’ve pretty much got your groove down. You’re recording things that need to be recorded and you’ve worked out how to do virtual visitation. A single parent who has been a single parent for any length of time has either figured out how to organize themselves – or fallen into the pits of financial and depressed despair from the stress of it all. Not to be depressing or anything.

There are free services out there for all of the above. First of all, for personal organization, if you have a computer to access an internet service, you probably have MS Outlook or similar which includes calendar, email, notes, tasks etc. In my case, this syncs with my pda which keeps me completely up to date wherever I am. Worst case scenario though, it syncs with free services such as my.yahoo.com. And if sharing with the ex is a big deal, really, you could share that calendar with your ex. Or the one at gmail.com.

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