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The technology of divorce

This morning a fascinating article showed up in my RSS feed on how technology is changing divorce. I encourage you to go read it over at the NY Times, but the quick summary is that things like texting and email have made face-to-face conversations less required in a divorce situation. That can end up being beneficial in situations with kids, since the chance of having a big argument in front of the children during an exchange or in a phone call become more rare.

As someone who is divorced with joint custody of my kids, I can say with first hand experience that it works. Firing off a quick text to coordinate scheduling or letting the other parent know about an upcoming event, are fast and easy. As talked about in the article, having the children have their own cell phones is also a great idea, since the parents can talk to their kids with quick calls and messages without having to deal with the ex-spouse.

However, there are certain areas where technology hasn't quite caught up to the reality of modern divorced families. Particularly with things like school parent portals, and church databases. When I signed up for a user account for my kids on-line portal they informed me that my username would include part of the child's home phone number. I immediately thought... "Which one? Between my ex-wife and I, and the kids cell phones, we have 4 phone numbers." Plus, they only gave us one account, so my ex and I have to share the same username and password to access the kids records.

Our church's database software ins't much better it seems since it doesn't seem to understand the notion that my kids might have two addresses that they live at, and that sending me mail with my ex-wife's name on it next to mine (even with her maiden name on it), isn't the best idea. I'm sure it's just a simple mail merge database, but it does go to show that often times software developers don't take in to account some of the more common family situations that occur in our society.

Hmm, maybe I can start a consulting business to educate these shops....

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