Making decisions, planning for the future and even getting on the same page about anything related to a child can be difficult. Add in the fact that you and your child's parent are no longer romantically involved, and that can make coming to a decision more difficult. Parenting plans exist to take out some of the stress and guesswork when it comes to raising your child.
This would be in addition to a child custody decision in hopes of laying out expectations and responsibilities of each parent. Parenting plans can involve all sorts of details, including pick up and drop off times and other specifics that help in making the process of co-parenting more smooth and with less uncertainty and disagreements between parents. They can't regulate every aspect of a child custody agreement, but they can help in many respects.
Since every child and family is different, a parenting plan is not a "one size fits all" scenario. Parenting plans can really help to customize a co-parenting situation into one that better fits the best interests of the child. That is the true goal of all child custody arrangements. The degree of customization depends on a parent's ability to communicate and agree on certain aspects in hopes of raising the child in an environment that works well for each party involved.
If anyone has preference, a child's needs come before that of a parent's in the eyes of the court. However, parents have their limits in many respects as well. There is usually a way to find a middle-ground for everyone. Parents are often encouraged to communicate and to be reasonable in these situations, if possible. At our law firm, we do our best to help guide our clients to the best possible resolution for child custody arrangements, including parenting plans.