When separated or divorcing parents face difficulty creating a parenting plan they both can both agree on, they may have more options than they realize. The court is primarily concerned with the best interests of the child, but prefers for parents to design a parenting plan that works for them and also places the best interests of the child as the highest priority. if a couple cannot reach a fair agreement otherwise, they may consider using family court services' mediation to work out a parenting plan they can both agree to.
Mediation works differently than traditionally litigated divorce. In a mediation session, family court services use a trained mediator who understands all of the legal issues at hand to work with each parent to reach mutually fair agreements. As a professionally trained mediator, this person can help each party identify priorities and reliably help each side reach mutually fair compromises.
However, it is important to understand that parents do not have to reach an agreement at all if they are not able to reach fair compromise. In the absence of a parenting plan that the parents themselves create, the court will create one and hand it down. However, this is usually not in the best interests of either parent. A court may place much different values on various privileges and division of parenting time than the parents do, and may produce a legally binding custody order that does not serve the needs of either parent.
If you and your child's other parent face difficulty creating a parenting plan, you may consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney. With professional counsel from an attorney, you can understand the full scope of your custody dispute and focus on creating the best life for your child while protecting your own rights.
Source: California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California, "Child Custody Information Sheet-Child Custody Mediation," accessed Feb. 02, 2018