Most people agree that divorce is never easy. There’s always some measure of pain or disappointment involved, even when both parties feel completely ready to go through with the process of divorce. It’s also true than many people know someone who’s been through a really tough divorce. People often worry that when they go through the process themselves, it will end up being one of these “tough” divorces that end up being decided in court.

This doesn’t always have to be the case. If both individuals are willing to take a proactive approach, there are several ways to make a divorce more beneficial for all parties involved. Here are 3 such ways to make your divorce easier.

1. Seek the help of a professional mediator

Divorce mediation doesn’t work in every single case — every situation is unique, and there’s no precise blueprint that works for everyone. That said, divorce mediation is a very constructive choice for a great number of divorcing couples. It allows you to have candid, honest, and respectful conversations with each other, in the presence of someone who knows the ins and outs of divorce (including the financial side, co-parenting, emotional issues, and every other relevant area). In the majority of cases, this process leads to final results that are less conflicted, more collaborative, more economical, and more conducive to positive long-term results for both parties.

2. Talk about collaborative divorce

Depending on which state you live in, the legal system may have provisions for something called collaborative divorce. This is the case in New Jersey, for example. Couples have the option to move through the divorce process without appearing in court. Of course, legal professionals are still necessary to prepare the necessary documents — but not having to appear before a judge is a major benefit for many couples. In a “normal” divorce, both parties will appear before a judge, who will ultimately have the authority to make final decisions regarding child custody, assets, and other aspects of the divorce. In the case of collaborative divorce, both parties are working with a team of professionals to make the process run more smoothly, with less conflict. These professionals can include mediators, lawyers, therapists and financial advisors. This puts more power in the hands of the divorcing individuals.

3. Work constructively with a big-picture attitude

Many people just don’t realize how many options they have when it comes to divorce. When there’s a willingness on both sides to work through issues constructively, there’s no need for the process to be contentious and expensive. Another important thing is to thing about the long-term effects of decisions and agreements made during the divorce process. This is especially important where children are involved. Often times, people in the midst of divorce are stressed and emotional — this is completely understandable. Sometimes a trained professional can help both parties find a more constructive, long-term perspective that leads to better long-term results.

Who to call?

If you’re in contact with a divorce mediator, look for a well-rounded professional with a solid reputation in the community. It’s also useful to find someone who has both a therapeutic background, and financial background such as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) qualification. This will give you greater chances of a truly constructive and well-rounded process.