OPTIMAL is an online tool that allows you to easily and accurately track parenting time and monitor compliance with your custody arrangement. OPTIMAL also includes a variety of other useful tools that help you keep track of other things like phone numbers, notes, appointments, child support payments, file storage etc.
You use OPTIMAL by recording your parenting time when the child or children are actually with you (or legally under your care). This time is compared against the parenting plan schedule you set in the Calendar.
The Calendar and Tracker screens are the two most important parts of OPTIMAL.
- The Calendar is where you layout your expected parenting time (your parenting plan or schedule), including repeating events such as every-other-weekend schedules, mid-week visits, 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends, etc.
You can also enter non-parenting time events such as birthdays, doctor's appointments, or meetings on the calendar as well.
Once you set up your parenting plan or Scheduled Parenting Time in the Calendar, OPTIMAL will compare it against the Actual Parenting Time you enter in the Tracker (see below). OPTIMAL compares these two timelines and then calculates a variety of useful statistics for you.
Your calendar can be either public or private. By default your calendar is set to 'private', but once you set it to 'public' you can send a special link to people so they may view it. (This link is displayed for you on your calendar page.)
By providing the other parent with a public record of parenting schedule you encourage collaboration and cooperation. In conflicted arrangements this may also serve to put an uncooperative parent on notice, letting them know that interference with the parenting schedule is being tracked.
The records OPTIMAL provides can also assist you and your attorney in court or negotiations. Having a clear, indisputable record of interference with parenting time can be instrumental in making your case.
- The Tracker works by keeping a count of the hours of your Scheduled Parenting Time (the time you're supposed to receive) and compares it to the hours of your Actual Parenting Time (the time you actually got).
The Scheduled Parenting Time is drawn from the schedule you set up in the Calendar (see above). Once the schedule is created in the Calendar all you do is enter your Actual Parenting Time in the Tracker and OPTIMAL does the rest.
Any differences between the Scheduled and Actual time totals are calculated and are displayed in the Daily, Monthly, and Yearly Tracker summaries, as well as in the printable charts.
Using the information in the summaries, you can (for example) demonstrate that you're being denied time with your children. You can also use the summaries to show the level of involvement in your child's life.
In all of the statistics and totals the Tracker generates for you, the Scheduled Time numbers are considered to be the baseline that comparisons are made against.