Family lawyers are often challenged to help clients work out parenting-time plans that allocate time with the child (or children) between the parents. Ten years ago, Stephen J. Harhai described the problem like this: "The fundamental problem in working out time-sharing issues is that it is hard to visualize or calculate the effect of a given plan without a lot of grunt work. We have spent untold hours marking calendars, counting days, writing explanations, and generally driving ourselves crazy getting a handle on complicated time-sharing arrangements." ["Tools of the Trade" column in the Family Advocate (Vol. 20, No. 3)]
There are many low-cost software programs to help parents and family lawyers create parenting plans based on agreed-upon or court-ordered visitation schedules. These programs calculate percentage splits, which is important in coordinating the plan with the support calculation used by many states for “shared economic responsibility” based upon the number of overnights per year the noncustodial parent has with a child. These programs can be used to schedule parenting time, record parenting time as it is used, measure parental time, and also schedule changes.
In high-conflict cases, the parenting time programs can reduce the amount of face-to-face contact required to manage the parent-child calendars.
In the next few weeks, I'm going to be previewing several such programs. If you are currently using an online parenting time program or software program to manage parenting time schedules, please contact me to let me know which program you are using and what you think its strong and weak points are. You can email me at jeannemhannah [at] charter.net