Alimentor User Guide

Learn how to use Alimentor, the best child custody calendar app for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Welcome!

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

  • Track visitation time only for one of the parents to minimize data entry effort. Report calendar can be configured to automatically assign unallocated time to the selected caregiver.
  • 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.
  • To log no‑shows, withheld visitations, missed payments, and other scheduled events that did not occur use the Canceled status. Optionally, use the Disagreement indicator to highlight conflicting events on the report.
  • You can create 4 types of records: parenting time, calls, expenses and memos.
  • Tap or any day on the calendar to add a new record.
  •  iOS  Use the selector located above the calendar to choose what type of events you want to add or edit at the moment.
  • Use the Setup button located in the Report view to customize your report. For everyday use, a short reporting period, usually a monthly or a 4-week period, is recommended.
  • You can exchange data with the other parent using iCloud Sync.

Co‑Parenting During Divorce

If you have recently separated from your spouse, consider reading these articles:

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 select Import as Parenting Time.

Event Statuses

Depending on their status, events are shown in two different views:
  • Planned events are shown in Reminders.
  • Actual and canceled events are shown in Diary.

Set the status of the event to Canceled in order to log: no‑shows, withheld visitations, missed payments.

Calendars

Bar Colors

Calendar bars can use colors assigned to caregivers or beneficiaries.
To choose your preferred setting:

  •  Mac   iPad  Use the Bar Colors setting located in Filters.
  • To change colors used in the report calendar modify the Breakdown by setting.
  •  iPhone  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.

Autofill

Report calendar can be configured to automatically assign unallocated time to the selected caregiver. Autofill is configured in reporting settings and works only in the calendar chapter of the report. The main app calendar does not use autofill.

Custody Schedules

If you have recently separated from your spouse, consider reading the article about planning your time with kids ▶

To include an event in your custody schedule set its Scheduled attribute. This property is set automatically for planned, canceled and recurring events. In case of nonrecurring events:

  • clear the Scheduled attribute when logging unplanned parenting time,
  • set the Scheduled attribute for events that are part of your agreed schedule.
Scheduled Parenting Time

All scheduled events in the status Planned are displayed in Reminders.

Regular Schedule

You can create recurring events that repeat themselves:
  • weekly,
  • monthly,
  • yearly,
  • daily,
  • on selected weeks of the month.

You can create complex visitation schedules by 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

Holidays

To let you flexibly define holiday visitation schedule:

  • Parenting time records representing your regular schedule and holiday schedule can freely overlap. Timeshare and totals calculation algorithm takes it into account. This minimizes the need to alter your regular visitation schedule.
  • You can freely change the scheduled dates of individual occurrences of a recurring event and delete unwanted occurrences. Adjusting a single occurrence does not affect the remaining occurrences.

For holidays that occur on fixed dates you can consider creating recurring events that repeat every two years (minor adjustments might be necessary for observed holidays). For other holidays you can manually create the required parenting time records for one or two years ahead.

Schedule Adjustments

  • To enter individual deviations from your basic schedule (e.g. school holidays or vacations), use the calendar or navigate to Reminders 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 schedule, you can delimit existing recurring events and create new ones.
  • To quickly navigate to the initial instance of a recurring event in order to edit the repetition rule, e.g. to change the date when the repetition ends or to delete the rule altogether:
    •  iOS  Open any occurrence of the recurring event and tap the "i" button located in the Repeat row. Choose Edit Recurring Event when prompted. Tap the Repeat row and make any required changes.
    •  Mac  Open any occurrence of the recurring event and click the Tools toolbar button, select Show Recurring Event.

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 25th to 27th (planned), but it was actually longer: 23rd - 28th, then it should be logged as follows:

Editing Visitation Record

Custodial Timeshare

The visitation timeshare (the percentage of time each parent has the child) is calculated as: Custody time duration / Reporting period duration * 100%.

Alimentor calculates two different percentages:
  • Timeshare percentage (hr %) - based on hours
  • Nights percentage (n %) - based on nights

 iOS  The custodial timeshare shown in the Home View below the calendar is based on hours and calculated for a monthly period.

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.

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.

To track reimbursements enter one parent as payer and the other one as payee.

In order to log unpaid, scheduled (agreed) expenses, use the status Canceled.

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:

  •  iOS  Navigate to Settings and tap Export to Spreadsheet.
  •  Mac  Choose File > Export as Spreadsheet... from the menu bar in Alimentor.

Learn more about tracking expenses and reimbursements ▶

Call History

Use record type Call for logging parent‑child call history (date, time, duration).

The title field can be used to store the call type, for example: FaceTime, Phone Call.

 iOS  If you add contact details to your child’s profile, they will be displayed in the event editor (for call records) to let you quickly initiate a call. When the call is ended, the call date and duration fields will be automatically updated.

Documenting Conversations

 Mac  To copy iMessage or SMS conversations to Alimentor using your Mac, make sure to enable Messages in iCloud, launch Messages and display the conversion that you want to copy, then use one of the following options:

  • Copying as text: Press and hold ⇧Shift, then click on the first and the last message that you want to copy. Next choose Edit > Copy from the menu bar in Messages (⌘+C). Switch to Alimentor, start editing the selected event and navigate to the notes field. Paste the copied text by choosing Edit > Paste from the menu bar (⌘+V).
  • Copying as PDF: Select File > Print… from the menu bar in Messages. Click the PDF button and select Save as PDF. Choose a file location and click Save. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event. Click the Add PDF Documents button and select the previously saved file.
  • Copying as image: Take a screenshot of the Messages app window using the Screenshot app (⇧+⌘+4) and then add it to the selected Alimentor record as image.

 iOS  To document iMessage or SMS conversations in Alimentor for iOS, launch Messages from your Home screen, scroll to the relevant part of the conversation and use one of the following options:

  • Copying as image: To take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad press the side button and the volume up button at the same time, then quickly release both buttons. After you take a screenshot, a thumbnail temporarily appears in the lower‑left corner of your screen. Tap the thumbnail to open it, then tap the Share button located in the upper right corner and select Copy from the list of available options. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event. Tap Add Photos and select Paste from Clipboard.
  • Copying as text: Tap and hold the message that you want to copy. Tap Copy. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event. Tap Add Notes and paste the copied message.

Documenting E‑Mail Correspondence

E‑mail correspondence can be stored in Alimentor as PDF documents.

 Mac  On your Mac:
  1. Open Mail and select the message(s) you want to export.
  2. Next choose File > Export as PDF... from the menu bar.
  3. Choose a file location and click Save.
  4. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event.
  5. Click the Add PDF Documents button and select the previously saved file.

 iOS  On your iPhone or iPad:
  1. Open Mail and tap the message you want to export.
  2. Tap the action button. The action button looks like a reply arrow (it's also used to reply to or forward email messages).
  3. Tap Print to open the printer options.
  4. Pinch open the thumbnail image of your email. The Printer Options will be replaced with the PDF version of your email message.
  5. Tap the Share button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  6. Tap Copy.
  7. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event.
  8. Tap Add PDF Documents and select Paste from Clipboard.

Adding Multiple Photos

You can quickly add multiple photos to an Alimentor record.

 iOS  On your iPhone or iPad:
  1. Open Photos and tap Select.
  2. Select multiple photos and tap Share.
  3. Choose Copy Photos from the share sheet options.
  4. Switch to Alimentor and start editing the selected event.
  5. Tap Add Photos and select Paste from Clipboard.

 Mac  On your Mac:
  1. Launch Alimentor and start editing the selected event.
  2. Click the Add Photos button and select Choose File.
  3. To select a specific number of files, you can hold Command (⌘), and then click on each file you wish selected.
  4. To choose a group of files that are stacked one atop the other in a list, click the first file, then hold Shift (⇧) and click the last. All files between and including them will be selected.
  5. Once you have selected your files, click Open.

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.

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.

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 you are using a Mac, you can use Preview to annotate a PDF on Mac.

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:

  •  iOS  Navigate to Settings, select iCloud Sync and tap Turn On iCloud Sync.
  •  Mac  Choose Preferences... from the menu bar. Select the iCloud Sync tab, click Turn On iCloud Sync.

To display or change your Apple ID and iCloud storage settings:

  •  iOS  Open the Settings app, tap [your name]. Tap iCloud, then scroll down and find "Alimentor 2".
  •  Mac  Go to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud. Make sure that iCloud Drive is turned on. Next to iCloud Drive, click Options and find "Alimentor 2.app".

If you need more space to store your data in iCloud refer to this Apple Support article about managing your iCloud storage.

Remarks:

  • 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.

Sharing 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).

To let another Alimentor user access your data:

  •  iOS  Open Alimentor and navigate to Settings > iCloud Sync, then tap Manage Access to My Data. Tap Add People, choose how you would like to send your invitation, select recipients and send the invitation link.
  •  Mac  Click the Sharing button located in the toolbar above the calendar. Click Add People, choose how you would like to send your invitation, select recipients and send the invitation link.

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.

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.

To manually enable iCloud Sync:

  •  iOS  Navigate to Settings, select iCloud Sync and tap Turn On iCloud Sync.
  •  Mac  Choose Preferences... from the menu bar. Select the iCloud Sync tab, click Turn On iCloud Sync.

Last Resort Option

 iOS  If you have lost your iPhone/iPad 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 device from a backup

Integration With System Calendar

Viewing Events

Alimentor calendar can display up-to-date content of your device calendar, showing daily events, holidays and visitations together.

To turn on access to system calendars in Alimentor:

  •  iOS  Turn on the Device Calendar switch displayed under the calendar.
  •  Mac  Click the System Calendars... button displayed on the left side of the main window.

Enabling access to system calendars does not affect any data stored in Alimentor database.

Importing Events

Events stored in your device calendar can be manually imported to Alimentor as parenting time records. If you used to track your visitations using your iPhone/iPad/Mac calendar, you can use this feature to create historical records in Alimentor.

To import a visitation open it using the calendar view in Alimentor and then select Import as Parenting Time.

Imported records are not affected by any later changes made to the original events. Disabling access to system calendars has no effect on such records.

Exporting Events

You can set up automatic export of Alimentor records to one or more calendar accounts configured on your iPhone/iPad/Mac (iCloud, Gmail, Outlook...).

In this way, you can indirectly share your Alimentor calendar with someone who cannot install the app because they are using an Android device or a Windows computer.

To configure automatic export of events:

  •  iOS  Navigate to Settings, select Cal Sync and tap Add Rule.
  •  Mac  Choose Preferences... from the menu bar. Select the Cal Sync tab, click Add Rule.

By default, exported events are not shown in Alimentor to avoid displaying the original and exported events simultaneously. The visibility of exported events is controlled by the Hide in App switch.

Data Deletion

To delete all your data (this operation is irreversible):

  •  iOS  Navigate to Settings. Select iCloud Sync if syncing is enabled, otherwise choose Device Data. Tap Delete Data and confirm.
  •  Mac  Choose Preferences... from the menu bar. Select the Database tab. Click Delete My Data.

Preparing for Court

The following tips can help you when preparing for court:

  • Prepare several shorter reports focusing on specific periods, topics and factors, instead of trying to generate one huge report with all the information collected.
  • Tag your records with the “best interests” factors, then generate the “Best Interests of the Child” chapter of the report. Give this document to your attorney in order to minimize the time needed to prepare a legal brief.
  • 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 you are using a Mac, you can use Preview to annotate a PDF on Mac.
  • 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:
    •  iOS  Navigate to Settings and tap Export to Spreadsheet.
    •  Mac  Choose File > Export as Spreadsheet... from the menu bar in Alimentor.
  • If you had been regularly sending Alimentor reports to the other parent (e.g. using email) in the past, consider using that fact to prove that the other parent was aware of the actual situation.
  • The search functionality located in Diary will help you quickly look up records containing specific notes and titles.
  • Turn off portrait photos in reporting settings to reduce report file size.

Learn how to collect documentation in child custody cases ▶

What is New in  Alimentor 2 

Alimentor 2 is offered as a separate app to give the users of the older version a choice whenever they prefer to stay with the existing solution or migrate to the new release.

PDF attachments, scans and photos

  • Multiple PDF documents, scans and photos can be added to a single data record (up to 5 MB).
  •  iOS 13  Built-in document scanner. v. 2.2.3
  • Generated reports can contain attached PDF documents.

Enhanced Reports

  • User selectable layouts: Actual, Scheduled, Actual vs. Scheduled.
  • Scheduled and actual parenting time can be output in the same calendar.
  • Report calendar can automatically assign unallocated time to the selected caregiver. v. 2.3.8
  • Two types of custodial timeshare: based on hours and based on nights (new). v. 2.5.8
  • Payments between caregivers can be reported as a negative cost for the caregiver who is assigned as the payee. v. 2.1.3
  • New report chapter “Best Interests of the Child” listing records tagged with "best interests" factors. v. 2.1.6
  • Sample documents: report, spreadsheet.

New Features

  • New record type “Call” for logging parent‑child call history. v. 2.1.7
  • User‑configurable automatic export of events to iPhone/iPad/Mac calendar. v. 2.5.6
  • Parenting time records for the same caregiver and child can overlap.
  • Enhanced settings for creating recurring events.
  • Dark mode support. v. 2.2.3 
  •  iOS  Data import from Alimentor 1.
  •  iOS  Expiring recurring events are now easily accessible from the Home View. v. 2.1.4
  •  iOS  Reimbursements can be quickly created based on existing expenses v. 2.4.3
  •  iOS  Expense editor supports calculation of sums and percentages v. 2.4.3
  •  iOS  Protection against generating reports larger than available device memory. v. 2.4.2
  •  iOS 14   macOS 11 Big Sur  Added "Reminders" and "Calendar" widgets.
  •  macOS 11 Big Sur  Universal app supporting Intel and Apple Silicon processors.  v. 2.5.2 

Data migration

Alimentor 2 for iOS and Alimentor 1 for iOS are two separate apps. When Alimentor 2 is installed on a device where Alimentor 1 is already present, it will offer an option to import a copy of the existing data from Alimentor 1. You will be able to keep using Alimentor 1 without changes if needed.

Download and Installation

Alimentor 2 for iOS

Download on the App Store.

Requires iOS 12.4 or later. Updated for iOS 13 and iOS 14.

Alimentor 2 for Mac

Download on the Mac App Store.

Requires macOS Catalina 10.14 or later. Updated for macOS Big Sur 11.0 (Intel, Apple Silicon).

Try the free trial version of the desktop application. The Mac app is fully compatible with Alimentor 2 for iOS and syncs data with it. We invite you to try it out and share your feedback with us.

Requires macOS Catalina 10.14 or later. Updated for macOS Big Sur 11.0 (Intel, Apple Silicon).

Installation: Open the downloaded archive and move the “Alimentor 2.app” file to the “Applications” folder.

Support Alimentor Development

If you like what we're doing and would like to support us we would be very grateful. Helping us could involve any of the following:

  • Writing a social media post promoting our app
  • Telling your mediator or lawyer about Alimentor
  • Adding a link to Alimentor website on your blog, profile, etc…
  • Providing feedback and feature requests