It’s not a misspelling. It’s actually a meaningful acronym: Family Advocacy is Your Responsibility, or Fayr, a new(ish) co-parenting app that has quickly become my favorite to recommend – and it will be yours soon, too, if you’re looking for a thoughtfully designed co-parenting tool.
Michael Daniels created Fayr to manage his own co-parenting relationship. After he and his wife divorced, he found himself spending more time tracking paperwork, daily logs and receipts – that he was later accused of “making up” by his ex – than he found enjoying the time he was able to spend with his kids. Fayr is his answer to that: an app that tracks everything from receipts to pick-up and drop-off times to messaging between parents, so there’s no “he said, she said,” and no question about who did what.
Erin: There are lots of co-parenting apps out there. What makes yours different?
Michael: I wanted people using Fayr to fix on the word “responsibility” – we are all response able. In life, we owe it to others to at least be fair, and that’s a core underpinning of this app. We want to help people streamline communication on core issues. When actions are verifiable, incontestable and transparent – especially when relationships may be strained – you can mitigate a lot of problems.
We’re also the first co-parenting tool that utilizes geographical check-ins. Usually, attorneys will advise you to save your receipts to prove that you were in a certain place at a certain time with your kids. Our app does that, and it can’t be manipulated. With our app, a judge can see whether you were where you said you were – whether you were on time for pick-ups or drop-offs, and so forth – and it’s uncontestable.
You were an architect before becoming an app developer. That’s a pretty big transition.
It’s true! I used to design high-end homes for billionaires. In that line of work, the little things are the big things. Detail is important. Coming from an architectural background, I’m aware of how people are emotionally stimulated and affected by our surroundings. I used that to create an intuitive user interface that is laid out in a way that makes sense psychologically. That matters, because in order for co-parents to have success communicating through our app, it can’t feel like a chore – it needs to look and feel easy to use.
How did you channel your own experience with divorce and co-parenting into the design?
It was a rough go when my ex and I started co-parenting. People are people and we all have different philosophies. But, I will say that the amount of things that escalated: who owed who money, whose day it was with the kids, who said what when – that got hard. I was so worried about tracking receipts, keeping daily logs and tracking pick-up and drop-off times – looking back, I was really stressed out. I was so focused on tracking that I wasn’t being present for my kids. Today, my ex and I both use Fayr. We have fewer misunderstandings and disagreements, which has resulted in a much longer cease fire than before. Things are just clearer now for both of us. The app has really helped our overall quality of life, and now my kids live with a much better version of me.
I think most people are bad with paperwork, though, because it can be so tedious. With receipts especially, there are major repercussions if you can’t keep track of that stuff, and that can alter the course of your and your children’s lives. I really wanted the Fayr app to be able to help people manage that so they could focus less on the recordkeeping and more on being truly present for their kids.
What if your ex isn’t convinced that an app is the right solution to your communication problems? How do you get them on board?
Fayr works best when both parents are using it. We find that an increasing number of lawyers are recommending their clients use the app, and many judges are ordering parents to use the app, because there’s no way to manipulate the data. However, one parent can still use the app without their ex’s participation; their ex will still get push notifications when communication or documentation is added by the parent using the app.
The tracking and logging features are clearly so useful to couples navigating a contentious co-parenting relationship. What does Fayr offer to help users through the emotional part of co-parenting?
It is so important to us to help our users navigate co-parenting holistically, and that means providing them with vetted legal and emotional support. We’re constantly growing a directory of experts – people who really know their stuff – that our users can find by zip code, depending on the support they want. That might be in the form of video mediation that lets you sit in the comfort of your own home to work through disputes, or legal experts who can help renegotiate issues that come up post-settlement.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with another dad who is navigating a choppy co-parenting relationship?
I wish I hadn’t spent so much time in such an anxious state of mind. I can’t get those years back that I wasn’t emotionally present in every moment for my kids. I regret that. Especially in their young years, I wish I had shown more patience and not stressed so much.
When you become single, maybe for the first time in a long time, it might be the first opportunity you’ve had to focus just on yourself. That’s okay. It’s okay to take this time to work on areas of your life you’ve been wanting to focus on. Self-care is important. Finally committing to a new workout routine, looking inward and practicing meditation, taking a new class or scheduling a regular golf game with the guys – that’s all great.
But, I sometimes see newly single dads feel the need to spend extra money on things they had never thought of previously, like a new sports car or even plastic surgery. Remember that many times you are going from a two-income household to a single income producing household. It’s important to remain financially responsible as you transition to this next chapter of life and of fatherhood, so make sure you’re keeping those “me” opportunities in check.
Finally, I’d also add that no success in life will ever compensate for being a failure as a parent. You only get one shot at this. Do it right. Those kids matter more than a flashy car.
Learn more about Fayr or download the app at Fayr.com.