What is the story behind Ittavi?
There has to be a better way
Eight years ago I was married with a successful marketing career in the Silicon Valley. I was also pursuing my MBA in the evenings. Ten days after finishing my final class, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!
A few months after my daughter’s birth her father and I separated and subsequently divorced. Raising my daughter on my own wasn’t the scary part, though it wasn’t something I had dreamed of either, having been raised by a single mother. I did worry about how I would have time to do everything that needed to be done. Since this was a very amicable divorce, I decided to do the divorce, financial agreement and settlement on my own. It sure saved a lot of money and filing the divorce paperwork was fairly easy (though there always seemed to be one document I forgot to fill out and had to go back to the court-house several times!) We had been married for 6 years, and always agreed if we didn’t stay together, we would do our best to ensure our daughter was put before our own needs, wants and emotions. We agreed on custody and visitation and used the standard calculator to determine the amount of child support that would be paid. Other than a few hundred dollars in filing fees, a ton of paperwork and having to wait 6 months for the final judgement (a requirement in the State of California) I can say our divorce went very smoothly. I learned a long time ago that nothing good comes of remaining angry and the best thing I could do for myself and my daughter was to build a loving, positive home for us.
Divorce doesn’t end it!
The divorce process was easy. However, the biggest lesson I have learned is the issues that lead to divorce- communication and money- do not get easier with your former partner. They get much harder. Now that I had less time and we were no longer managing a single household and bank account, enforcing the child support agreement became difficult and time consuming. Lets face it no one likes to talk about money with someone they like. And they really don’t like to talk about money with their someone who is now their ex.
Perhaps if child support was simply one payment per month it wouldn’t be so hard. However in most, if not all child support agreements, parents are supposed to split basic household expenses plus incremental expenses such as healthcare, education or any other special needs for the children. These incremental, or additional, expenses became a communication and tracking nightmare. Between tracking on a spreadsheet, having to keep copies and send them to my ex as well as having to remind him to pay me, or a third party for any child related expense, I began to feel more like a bill collector than anything else and the entire process was time consuming, exhausting and fraught with error. I just wished I never had to talk to my ex about money again.
Ittavi is born!
Everyone receives monthly utility or credit card bills with details on where the money was spent, so why couldn’t we do this with child support? I would get an automated process that did all the reminders and tracking for me and he would get the transparency and proof that the expenses were for my daughter.
After researching, I was surprised to learn that there are over 298 Million parents globally who are raising their children in non-nuclear households (or as we call it, modern family households). In the United States there are 39 Million parents. Even though there is such a large population and a clear problem there was no solution to help parents manage the financials involved while raising children in multiple households. So I thought to myself: “I could make something that not only made my life better, but could really help all the parents out there in a similar situation.” Imagine how happy our children would be if they didn’t have to hear their parents arguing over money!
Modern family financial management
I left my corporate executive job and embarked upon a new challenge as founder and CEO of Ittavi (an acronym for the term “It Takes a Village”.) My goal was to build a company that delivers products that helps families manage finances. The first type of family we are focusing on is where parents are raising children in multiple households.
This amazing journey has given me the opportunity to meet and gather feedback from many single parents, lawyers and mediators – as well as community and business leaders. As I was embraced with such an incredible amount of support, it became clear to me that something like Ittavi was sorely needed to help divorced, separated and blended families.
Therefore, I hope that as we continue to build Ittavi into a robust, one-stop resource that provides helpful solutions for parents, Ittavi will become your trusted friend and destination to help make modern family life easier!
Founder & CEO, Ittavi, Inc