Negotiate or Litigate?
As with all aspects of a divorce, you'll end up with a more workable parenting plan if you negotiate with your spouse and come up with a mutually acceptable agreement. You can take into account your schedules, your children's special needs, and the strengths each of you bring to your role as a parent. Negotiating a parenting plan means you have to be willing to compromise and reasonably evaluate your particular circumstances. Parents who develop their own parenting plan put their energies into implementing it. This means your plan has a higher likelihood of success than one imposed on you by the court.
When you litigate, you turn decision making over to a judge, who is a stranger. It's kind of like gambling — you could win big or lose big. The problem with litigation is proving what you say. Many issues come down to a “he said, she said” situation and the judge doesn't know who to believe. For this reason it is critical that you think about your situation rationally and reasonably and allege only the truth. This means that you should not exaggerate facts and details. Exaggeration is often misinterpreted as lying by the court.
Since a lawyer will be preparing the paperwork that you submit to the court, it is important to read all documents very carefully. Lawyers often write very dramatically to get their points across. While this is important, facts can easily be exaggerated or misinterpreted. If any information is incorrect or misleading, ask that it be changed.
It's also important to be fair. If your spouse goes out with friends occasionally, don't say it happens all the time. It is easy to exaggerate the truth in the heat of anger, so make sure to carefully read all papers you submit to the court to make sure they say what you mean.