A parenting plan is an agreement between the mother and father that spells out the specific details of being responsible for their children.
The courts in California still use those archaic and hostility-engendering words, “custody” and “visitation.” Those words are still on the petition one files for a dissolution of marriage, formerly known as “divorce,” and must be used in your judgment of dissolution.
However, this mediator has always helped couples work out parenting plans. All the court-employed mediators do parenting plans. Twelve or fourteen other states now have “parenting plans” in their state family laws, but the California legislature rejected a law proposing such terminology in 1989.
Options for parenting plans may differ, depending on the individual circumstances of each family and the age of the children. The focus of a parenting plan is on the needs and lives of the children, not on ownership issues of the parents.
My philosophy regarding parenting plans is that your child has one mother and one father for life. You are each responsible for the child, you are each involved with your child for life. Your child can love both of you equally without having to be obliged to spend equal time with each of you.