There are as many parenting plans as there are parents. It is a very family oriented issue, and each family is different. Basically, divorcing couples have three options as to how to arrive at a parenting plan for their children. The best way is for both parents to meet and confer, and arrive at a mutual agreement that allows their children to have time with both parents, and gives both parents some flexibility from time to time.
While it is always better for parents to make these decisions for themselves and for their children, it does not always happen that way. More often than not, parents who have little to no desire to communicate with each other or are too angry with each other to communicate directly have their divorce lawyers litigate the issue, the end result being that a judge makes the child custody and other parenting decisions for the parents. Usually both parents wind up somewhat unhappy with the result they receive.
Another option is for both parents to jointly hire a psychologist to act as an advocate for the children. This process is much less adversarial than litigation and is usually accomplished within two to four sessions. This is a very effective method and is far less combative and less expensive than litigation.
Southern California divorce attorney Brian Don Levy has practiced family law since 1973. He has regularly served as a Judge Pro Tem and as an approved Family Law and Civil Litigation Mediator and Arbitrator since 1978. View his website.