Even if you’ve heard of divorce mediation, you’re probably not too clear on what the advantages actually are. Most of us have either been through a divorce or know someone who has, yet there is still a lot of misinformation out there about how divorce can actually be accomplished. Sure, there is the “traditional” method of hiring attorneys and letting the divorce play out in court, before a judge. But there is an alternative, and it has a number of great benefits. Here are five:

1. It’s faster than going to court

Did you know that a “traditional” divorce in court can take weeks or even months to process, depending on the complexity of the divorce? If there are child custody issues, significant assets to divide, and various disagreements between parties with lawyers fighting on both sides, the divorce process can truly drag on indefinitely. With divorce mediation, couples often reach all the major necessary agreements within 12 hours of starting the process. This doesn’t include the time it takes to file the paperwork with the relevant authorities, or any attorney time that will be needed to complete necessary forms (depending on where you live). But on the whole, mediation makes the process a lot faster.

2. Your privacy stays intact

Another rough thing about having a courtroom divorce is that you lose a lot of privacy, since those court records are public by law. If you don’t want the details of your divorce exposed in that way, divorce mediation is a great alternative because it entails a confidential process by which couples can preserve many aspects of privacy during the divorce process.

3. It’s cheaper

Imagine the legal fees incurred in a long and contentious divorce, where both sides have hired attorneys to fight tooth and nail for their interests. You might not even have to imagine it — you or someone you know might have been through it before! It’s possible to throw a lot of money away on arguments during divorce. Mediating those differences in a more efficient way can save a lot of money.

4. It’s better for the kids

What happens when a contentious and bitter divorce involves children and child custody issues? If the divorce is long and difficult, and if one or both parties are disgruntled with the results, the co-parenting situation can be worse for the kids. Mediation focuses more on what matters: Long term solutions and equilibrium that is best for everyone involved. There many not be anything such as a perfect divorce, but there is a best possible scenario for everyone involved — especially the children.

5. It takes things out of the judge’s hands

When you go through a standard courtroom divorce, where both parties are relying on a judge to make decisions that the divorcing couple were unable to make on their own, you’re essentially giving the power of your decisions to someone else. Divorce mediation keeps that power within the scope of the divorcing couple by focusing on constructive dialogues and solutions that lead to efficient outcomes, both in terms of parenting and finances.