Co-Parenting with An Ex: Custody battles, barters, and budgets made easier with a new app
This week's Q&A is with Michael Daniels and Andrea Berenfeld, Co-founders of FAYR (Family Advocacy is Your Responsibility) — the groundbreaking app that seamlessly streamlines key aspects of family management for co-parents raising children together. The creation of the app grew out of Daniels’ own challenges as a divorced father of two young children, navigating life and the family court system. We spoke to Mike and Andrea about building the app and responding to the challenges and complexities of co-parenting arrangements.
Onward: What made you want to create FAYR?
Mike: I created FAYR out of a personal need. One example I like to share is that I had a time-sharing schedule with my ex-wife, and I was supposed to drop my kids off at her house within a 2-hour window one Saturday morning. I drove 43 miles down to her house and no one was there to receive the children. After trying unsuccessfully for 30 minutes, to get a response by phone and text, I decided to drive the 43 miles back home. Upon getting home, I received a call from my attorney, who had just been contacted by my ex-wife’s attorney, saying I was in violation of a court order. Fortunately, I had taken the toll road, so by accessing my receipts I could prove that I had exited a toll just a mile from her home within the required timeframe. This event ended up costing me $800 in legal fees, and could have totally altered my future timesharing with my kids, if I couldn’t prove that I was compliant with the court’s order. This was such a waste of time and money, and completely unnecessary. I decided then, no one a similar situation should have to go through what I went through. It is just wrong.
Onward: What advice do you have for someone dealing with child custody?
Andrea: Whatever the situation, or reason for fighting over custody, do your best, to remember the kids and to put them first. As our team has done research for FAYR, we have learned that the following concepts are good to practice. They may sound easy, but aren’t always easy to put into practice.
· Minimize heated exchanges. There are always options before taking a spouse to court - mediation is one of those options.
· Look at the scenario for what it is. Don’t aggravate the situation by adding an extra layer of unnecessary drama to it – “dial” it down.
· Don’t speak bad about your ex. Any conversation with your children about your ex, should be kept at a higher level. Be the bigger person. Your kids will recognize this, and appreciate how you handled a tough situation with their father/mother.
· Do your best to remain objective. Be brutally honest with yourself. If your spouse is basically a good parent, but just has different values than you – recognize it for what it is.
Onward: Could you explain a bit on the fundamentals of how the FAYR app works?
Mike: Technology is changing daily. Time, in general, is just something that people do not have enough of. The co-parent who is well documented is usually assumed to be the more responsible one, which in no way always represents the truth. Co-parents and legal professionals are looking to technology to help. Anything that will assist in taking the pain point out of the discovery process for judges, co-parents, and attorneys, is welcomed with open arms. FAYR does just that.
FAYR combines the latest in technology, and allows for its users to document and communicate on the go. FAYR takes away the arduous task of reconciling daily logs that are required to prove custody schedules and events, child expenses incurred, written correspondences, and timely arrivals to pick-up or drop-off children, that can make co-parenting extremely overwhelming. FAYR’s casual fonts and soft color tones were designed to be psychologically conflict defusing to the user. FAYR simplifies the discovery process with features such as admissible messaging, which give users the ease of text messaging with the admissibility of emails; geo-check-ins, an expense tracker, and co-parenting calendar. Co-parents can log, track and forget. Records cannot be manipulated, and transparent and incontestable reports can be exported into a PDF document with just one click.
With FAYR, co-parents are able to easily construct a transparent trail of co-parenting activity – in the moment, as life is happening - so that in the event of legal escalation, the parties have transparent and court admissible documentation to represent them.
Onward: How do you feel FAYR helps ease the emotional burden that is often accompanied by a divorce/custody battle?
Mike: At the end of the day, I don’t want others to experience the emotional drain that I have gone through. It is hard to say, but regardless of how you best try to prepare for divorce - especially when kids are involved – there will be tension, aggravation and a high level of emotions that take place. FAYR eliminates a lot of those tensions which ultimately create a more calm, peaceful and transparent environment. This is not only beneficial for each co-parent, but more importantly, hugely beneficial for the kids. If the kids can see and sense, that both parents communicating amicably, and without tension, everyone is better adjusted. Both parents are better versions of themselves, and the kids recognize that.
Onward: How can you find FAYR?
Andrea: FAYR is the most modern, intuitive, easy-to-use co-parenting app, on the market, which allows parents to focus on being parents, rather than focusing on litigation and paper trails. It allows you to experience co-parenting in a totally new way: simply, inexpensively, transparently, and fairly.
FAYR was created for both IOS and Android phones. It can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play. Users can also subscribe at befayr.com to download the app and enroll. It is smooth and very streamlined. We developed our pricing options to meet the needs of our end-users. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so we wanted to ensure there were options available. Users can subscribe to FAYR monthly for $9.99/month, or yearly at $8.33/month or in 3-year increments at $249.99 for three years, which equals $6.00/month. We also offer a complete subscription waiver, for those in a financial hardship situation - we want to be fair.
Onward: How can you, as the friend of someone going through this life change, best support them?
Andrea: You never want to see a friend or loved one go through something emotionally draining. And, when it bears a direct impact on children it is especially hard. . FAYR believes in partnering with various enrichment services that can help with life changing events – such as, divorce coaches, retreats and parenting services to name a few.
For me, I feel an extra set of ears are absolutely the best way to help a friend where my extra support is considered helpful. Just listen. Even if it seems they are talking in circles, let them talk. I’ve heard this is how people off-load grief, and start coming to terms with and work through, this difficult time. I know it has helped me in the past.
Andrea Berenfeld is the Co-Founder and President of FAYR. She has spent the past 25+ years as an executive in the real estate/homebuilding industry, developing professional relationships and first-class operational teams. The desire to work alongside Mike in the development of FAYR came out of her long-time personal relationship with him and his children. Andrea feels strongly that improving the quality of life for single parents, especially when children are involved, is a complete no-brainer. Her journey with FAYR is a very rewarding ride.
Michael Daniels is the Founder and CEO of FAYR (Family Advocacy is Your Responsibility). FAYR has simplified the various obstacles that arise with co-parenting and it has allowed him to turn his full attention to what matters the most in life - his children.