POCATELLO — When a marriage begins to unravel, it comes with a great deal of confusing and mixed emotions.
When a divorce is finalized there are some tough decisions to make — especially if a couple has children. The divorcing couple, who were once deeply in love, are now forced to share the one remaining connection they had with each other — their kids.
In an effort to help foster positive communication between parents and keep children out of the middle of a potentially contentious situation, Sixth Judicial District Family Court Services Manager Lacy Parker just launched a new reimbursement program for families using co-parenting apps.
“It’s an innovative way to encourage parents to communicate better in a two-home dynamic,” Parker tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They’ll choose what app they want to use and then come to Family Court Services for reimbursement of those services.”
There are a variety of apps available to divorced parents, which can be used voluntarily or by order of a court.
“Some are better for high conflict families because have things like a tone meter, which scans through their email and suggests different language to use that’s more positive in their communication,” says Parker.
Other apps have a component that allows parents to use a mediator to help them work through disagreements while some have tracking systems so each parent can be informed about their children’s doctor visits, school activities and other things.
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Costs are involved for many of these apps but under this program, Parker says parents would be eligible for reimbursement based on three different criteria:
- Parents will need to have already attended Focus on Children, a required co-parenting class for couples going through a divorce or modifying a custody agreement.
- They must use the app for 30 days before they can apply for reimbursement. Reimbursement for each app is based on a yearly or lifetime membership. Users are encouraged to avoid the monthly membership.
- Funding is based on a sliding fee scale.
Parker launched the co-parent app reimbursement program last week, which was born out of a desire to help families going through divorce and custody changes.
“This is something I felt would really benefit families in our area. Since we’ve had to pivot our practices and do a lot of virtual stuff, I thought this might be a really great way to get in the now and help them as they transition during times of change,” Parker says.
Since the launch, Parker says many people have expressed interest in the program and she hopes it’s helpful to families who use it.
“All families are different and I’ve always liked meeting families where they are and helping provide those resources to them. I respect our judges and family law attorneys. It’s great to see how hard they work and how they share that same vision of helping families,” Parker says.
Those with questions or concerns can contact Parker directly at (208) 236-7416. You can also send her an email at [email protected]
Courtesy Lacy Parker