Alimentor

User Guide

If you have any questions about Alimentor, or want to learn how to achieve specific results, please email us at: feedback@alimentor.org.

Let us know immediately when you experience difficulties of any kind or have an idea for improvement.

We strongly rely on your feedback, so please contact us without delay and we will be happy to assist you.

Usage Tips

  • You can create 3 types of records: parenting time, expenses and memos. Use the event type selector located above the calendar to choose what type of events you want to add or edit at the moment.
  • Use the “+” button or tap any day on the calendar to add a new record.
  • Each parenting time record can simultaneously store information about both the planned parenting time (custody schedule) and the actual time when your child was with you or another caregiver.
  • Minimize data entry effort by tracking visitation time only for one of the parents. There is no need to simultaneously track both parents time unless you want to be very precise and, for example, exclude from your calculations the time when your kids are at school.
  • If you have more than one child with the same visitation schedule, create separate recurring records for each child to make it easy to enter exceptions. Otherwise, to log an exception for a single child, you would need to create a new record for that child and deassign that child from the occurrence of a recurring event.
  • Use the "Setup" button located in the Report View to set your reporting preferences. For everyday use, a short reporting period, usually a monthly or a 4-week period, is recommended.
  • If you want to track calls, you can use memos to do so.
  • You can exchange data with the other parent using built-in iCloud Sync sharing features.

Historical Data

  • Consider recreating your historical visitation schedule by defining recurring events that start in the past. Use the calendar view or the reminders list to switch the status of each historical event from „Planned” to „Actual”, at the same time adjusting the dates to reflect any deviations.
  • To import a visitation stored in your device calendar to Alimentor, open it using the calendar view in Alimentor and then tap „Import as Parenting Time”. To view events stored in your device calendar in Alimentor turn on the “Device Calendar” switch.

Event Statuses

Depending on their status, events are shown in the two different views:

  • Planned events are shown in the Reminders View.
  • Actual and Canceled events are shown in the Diary View.

To change the status of a planned event to „Actual", use the Reminders View, or select it for editing using the calendar. In case of "no show" set the status of an event as „Canceled” to indicate that the visitation was planned but did not occur.

Calendars

  • Calendar uses colors assigned to children/beneficiaries if you choose to display data for a caregiver. Likewise, when you choose to display data for a child, then color shown in the calendar will be read from the caregiver’s profile.
  • When the ”Device Calendar” switch is on, Alimentor calendar displays up-to-date content of your device calendar, showing daily events, holidays and visitations together. Toggling that switch does not affect any data stored in Alimentor database.
  • Parenting time records based on the device calendar events - created in Alimentor using the „Import as Parenting Time” function - are not affected by any later changes made to the original events. Turning the „Device Calendar” switch off has no effect on such records.

Editing Dates

When modifying event dates, please note that event's start date must never be greater than its end date.

To move the visitation time forward to an earlier date:

  • First edit its start date - set it to an earlier date/time.
  • Then adjust the end date.

Overlapping Records

 Alimentor 2  Records assigned to the same parent and children can overlap. Timeshare and totals calculation algorithm takes it into account.

 Alimentor  When records assigned to the same parent and children start to overlap, the editor view displays a message with the title and dates of the conflicting record. Changes to the event can not be saved.

Parenting time records assigned to different parents (or guardians) can freely overlap with each other (exchange time, babysitting).

Custody Schedules

Create complex visitation schedules using multiple recurring events.

For example, to define a 3-2-2 parenting plan, create 3 events, each repeating biweekly:

  1. Friday-Monday (3 n),
  2. Wednesday-Friday (2 n),
  3. Monday-Wednesday (2 n).
3-2-2 Visitation Schedule

All planned events are displayed in the Reminders View.

If you have more than one child with the same visitation schedule, please create separate recurring parenting time records for each child. Then it will be easy to enter exceptions in planned and actual dates.

 Alimentor 2  For events that repeat on selected weeks of the month, you can set the first day of the week. The first week of the month is determined based on this setting.

How to make changes:

  • To enter individual deviations from your basic schedule (e.g. school holidays or vacations), use the calendar or navigate to the Reminders View and edit or delete chosen entries.
  • Changing the scheduled dates for a single occurrence of a recurring event does not affect the other occurrences. In addition to changing the planned dates, you can also edit the title and add notes e.g. containing an email confirming the agreed schedule change.
  • When you need to make permanent changes to your parenting time visitation schedule, you can delimit existing recurring events and create new ones.
  • To edit a recurrence rule, e.g. change recurrence end date or delete the rule all together, open any instance of the recurring event and tap the (i) button located in the “Repeat” row. Choose “Edit Recurring Event” when prompted to start editing the source event. Tap the “Repeat” row and make required changes.
  • Turning off a recurrence rule by setting its frequency to „Do not repeat” does not delete already edited occurrences to prevent accidental data loss.

Actual Visitation Time vs. Schedule

  • Each parenting time record can simultaneously store information about both the planned parenting time (custody schedule) and the actual time when your child was with you or another caregiver. This allows Alimentor to detect and report deviations from your agreed schedule.
  • To store both time pairs (planned and actual), set the record status to „Actual” and make sure that the „Scheduled” switch is turned on.
  • For example, if a particular visitation was supposed to take place from March 23rd to 28th (planned), but is was actually shorter: 25th - 27th, then it should be logged as follows:

    Visitation Record

Parenting Timeshare

  • The visitation timeshare (the percentage of time each parent has the child) is calculated as: Custody time duration / Reporting period duration * 100%.
  • The timeshare displayed below the calendar view is calculated using the monthly time interval.
  • You can change your reporting settings in order to calculate parenting timeshare for a custom period of time. To set your reporting preferences, including custom reporting period, use the "Setup" button located in the upper left corner of the Report View.
  •  Alimentor  The column labeled "Relative Percentage", shown in the calendar section of the report, compares the duration of each caregiver’s custody time. It always adds up to 100%.

Expenses

  • When tracking expenses, use the first field to indicate the payer and the second field (where you can select multiple persons) to enter beneficiaries (payees). If you track your own expenses, put your name in both fields.
  • If an expense is assigned to more than one person, then on the report its amount is split equally between persons. Costs such as family plan subscriptions are ideal for splitting this way.
  • You have three options for tracking reimbursements:
    • Track payments between parents: enter one parent as payer and the other one as payee.
    • Create two expense records - one for each parent (as payer).
    • Ask the other parent to use Alimentor and share his or her expense records with you.
  • You can export all Alimentor data records to a spreadsheet file in order to perform some advanced calculations or to create charts. To generate a file in .xlsx format, please navigate to the Settings View and select „Export to Spreadsheet”.

Reporting

To start editing reporting settings tap the "Setup" button located in the upper left corner of the Report View.

Report length is limited to 200 pages.

To reduce the report size and speed up report generation, set a shorter reporting period or select fewer caregivers or children.

 Alimentor 2  Color legend and formatting:

  • Black color - represents actual values.
  • Gray color - represents scheduled values.
  • Scheduled and actual values are presented in separate tables.
  • Available layouts: Actual vs. Schedule, Actual, Schedule.

 Alimentor  Color legend and formatting:

  • ✓ - Checkmarks indicate that scheduled and actual values match.
  • Black color - represents actual values.
  • Gray color - represents scheduled values.
  • Light gray color - used for dates outside the reporting period.
  • Values in parentheses (for totals) or in red - the difference between actual and planned values (actual minus planned).
  • In period (for expenses) - „No” means that the expected or actual payment date is outside the reporting period.

If you are preparing Alimentor report(s) for your lawyer or court, you can use almost any popular PDF reader on your PC or Mac to add extra annotations to your documents. If your are using a Mac, your can use Preview. To learn more, please read: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH20218.

iCloud Sync

Syncing data across your devices

Alimentor uses Apple's CloudKit, part of iCloud, to sync and backup your data and therefore you do not need a separate account/login process.

With iCloud Sync, your data is seamlessly pushed across all of your devices (that use the same Apple ID). iCloud is a service running in the background on your device and updates may take a few seconds or several minutes to appear on other devices.

To turn on iCloud Sync navigate to the Settings View, select "iCloud Sync" and tap "Turn On iCloud Sync".

If you are syncing large amount of data for the first time, please let the initial upload to come to an end, then allow a few minutes for Apple servers to index freshly uploaded data before turning on iCloud Sync on the secondary device(s).

If you have used iCloud Sync before and are turning it back on, please be aware that Alimentor data records stored on your device will be merged with the records stored in iCloud.

 Alimentor 2  Data editing is disabled during synchronization.

Syncing data with other Alimentor users

How it works:

  • You can invite one or more users to access your data.
  • Data is always shared in a read-only mode, your records cannot be changed or deleted by someone else.
  • Users can mutually share data by creating and exchanging invitations with access rights.
  • If somebody shares with you data for a person that has the same nickname as the one that you have already used, then Alimentor will link both person's profiles and display the combined data.
  • If you do not want to sync data shared by another user, you can disable the obtained access rights. Previously downloaded data records will be removed from your device(s).
  • You can always revoke already granted access rights. Shared data will be removed from the other user's device(s).

 Alimentor 2  To let another Alimentor user access your data:

  1. Open Alimentor and navigate to the Sharing View (Settings > iCloud Sync > Sharing), then tap Manage Access to My Data.
  2. Choose how you would like to send your invitation, select recipients and send the invitation link.

 Alimentor  To let another Alimentor user access your data:

  1. Open Alimentor and navigate to the Sharing View (Settings > iCloud Sync > Sharing), then tap Add User.
  2. Select a recipient from your address book.
  3. Edit the authentication code (optional).
  4. Select parents and children to be shared.
    • You need to select at least one parent (or guardian) and one child (or beneficiary).
    • Data is always shared in a read-only mode, your records cannot be changed or deleted by someone else.
    • You can choose what types of events you want to share for each parent (guardian).
  5. Tap Create Invitation to upload your settings to iCloud.
  6. Tap Send Invitation to obtain and send an authentication link to the other user.
  7. Pass authentication code to the other user.

 Alimentor 2  To accept an invitation that you have received from another user:

  1. Tap the authentication link that you have received to open it in Alimentor.
  2. Confirm that you want to open "Alimentor 2 Database" shared by another user.
  3. Wait for the shared data to be completely downloaded.

 Alimentor  To accept an invitation that you have received from another user:

  1. Tap the authentication link that you have received and choose to open it in Alimentor.
  2. Alimentor will display the Access Rights View and communicate with iCloud to obtain your access rights.
  3. Enter the authentication code and tap Authenticate to initialize synchronization.
  4. Close the Access Rights View and wait for the shared data to be completely downloaded.

Troubleshooting

If you are getting "Couldn't get a signing certificate" error, please try performing the following actions:

  • Check your internet connection.
  • Restart your device.
  • Try to turn iCloud Sync on again after a while.

Backup and Restore

iCloud Sync

When iCloud Sync is enabled, Alimentor maintains a copy of your data in iCloud and all changes are automatically backed up. It is highly recommended to backup your records, otherwise you risk loosing your data when your device is lost or broken.

 Alimentor 2  iCloud Sync is enabled by default.

To manually enable iCloud Sync: open Alimentor, go to the Settings View, select "iCloud Sync" and tap "Turn On iCloud Sync".

To restore Alimentor data on your new device (or after reinstall):

  1. Install/reinstall Alimentor.
  2. Enable iCloud Sync and wait until your data is completely downloaded.

Important:

  • It is highly recommended to keep Alimentor as active app and prevent your device from going to sleep during the initial sync. When an app is not visible/active it can be suspended/terminated by iOS after approximately 2 minutes - not enough time to fully download a large database.
  • Downloaded data is always merged with records already existing on a device.

Last Resort Option

If you have lost your device or it has been damaged or reset and you did not use iCloud Sync to backup your data, then you can refer to this Apple support article about restoring you iPhone from a backup: https://support.apple.com/HT204184

Preparing for Court

The following tips can help you when preparing for court:

  • You can use almost any popular PDF reader on your PC or Mac to add extra annotations to the final version of your report. If your are using a Mac, your can use Preview (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH20218).
  • The search functionality located in the Diary View will help you quickly look up records containing specific notes and titles.
  • You can export all Alimentor data records to a spreadsheet file in order to perform some advanced calculations or to create charts. To generate a file in .xlsx format, please navigate to the Settings View and select „Export to Spreadsheet”.
  • If you had been regularly sending Alimentor reports to the other parent (e.g. using email), consider using that fact to prove that the other parent was aware of the actual time, expenses, etc.

What is new in  Alimentor 2 

  • Storing multiple photos and PDF attachments in a single record (up to 5 MB per record).
  • New report layout with more configuration options.
  • Reporting scheduled and actual parenting time in the same calendar.
  • Parenting time records for the same caregiver and child are allowed to overlap.
  • Quicker calendar navigation, faster search, simplified timeline, improved preview.
  • Enhanced settings for creating recurring events, including option to set the first day of the week for events that repeat on selected weeks of the month.
  • Simplified database sharing functionality based on standard iOS sharing UI.
  • Shared codebase for iOS and macOS. The Mac version is still in development.

In order to make Alimentor 2 as simple to use as possible and to streamline our app development efforts we have decided to abandon certain less popular features, including: selective data sharing, expense categories, Apple Watch app, French language localization.

If you are missing any functionality available in version 1.9.6 that is no longer present in Alimentor 2, please contact us at: feedback@alimentor.org.