Collaborative divorce has emerged as a bright spot in terms of divorce, and the options that are typically open to people. We all know someone who has been through a difficult divorce – perhaps we’ve even been through one ourselves. It’s stressful, expensive, frustrating, and it can be downright painful. But if both parties are open to a more collaborative approach, the entire process can be much different. Although it may not be a fairy tale ending, it’s possible to bring in a new chapter in a way that’s constructive in every possible way, from co-parenting to financial arrangements and the division of shared assets. Here are three other things you might not have known about collaborative divorce.

1. It keeps you out of court

It’s true that very divorce eventually has to be filed with the court, but having to stand before a judge and publicly argue the details your life is something that can be avoided completely through collaborative divorce. Because the process is exactly what it sounds like – fundamentally collaborative – the complex details of the divorce (including sensitive areas like child custody and finances) are worked through in advance by the two divorcing parties – along with one or more professionals, including a divorce mediation specialist.

2. Other people can be involved in the process

The three main parties in a collaborative divorce process will obviously be the two divorcing parties and a divorce mediation professional. But the process can also include therapists, custody professionals, and legal specialists according to the wishes of the people involved. Not all divorces require this much input – but some collaborative divorce proceedings are more complex than others. Talk to your divorce mediation counselor about whether it’s necessary to include other people in the talks.

3. It relies on honest and mutual respect

This might sound obvious, but a lot of people become interested in collaborative divorce as a way to solve their problems without any extra effort on their part. The reality is that collaborative divorce requires active participation from both sides. It requires a mutual desire to settle the details of the divorce in a way that is both amicable and constructive. It requires mutual respect and the ability to listen. The benefits of collaborative divorce are truly worthwhile, but they don’t materialize automatically. It’s important that honesty and respect are placed center stage.

Who is qualified to lead a collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a highly effective way to make divorce faster, more economical, and more amicable. In other words, the outcome of a collaborative divorce can be much more positive than the outcome of a typical contested divorce. But the process can be delicate, and does require the help of a trained professional. The most qualified collaborative divorce professionals out there often have post-secondary education in multiple related fields, such as counseling and financial planning. They also have a positive track record of collaborative divorce in their community, and have demonstrated their ability to help divorcing couples get better results.