There’s no two ways about it – divorce is hard. And many people know from experience that divorce is even harder when there are children involved. Regardless of what terms the relationship ended on, most all parents want what is best for their child. So what are best practices when it comes to getting a divorce when there are children to think about?

Most experts (as well as those who’ve been through a divorce) recommend divorce mediation as a way to move through the process constructively and amicably. The practice of hiring a third party professional to mediate during a divorce is almost always beneficial, but it can be especially important for parents.

Here are three ways divorce mediation can benefit children, so that both the immediate transition and the long-term situation are as healthy and constructive as possible.

Speeding Up the Divorce Process

As a rule of thumb, the longer a divorce process lasts, the more painful it will be for everyone involved — children included. One of the perks of divorce mediation is that it can often expedite the divorce process. When separating parents get professional support in reaching amicable compromises, a divorce will take less time. Not only is a faster divorce less frustrating for everyone; it’s also more economical. Children are less likely to experience a drastic change in lifestyle that can result from a prolonged and expensive divorce.

Arriving at Peaceful Agreement

One of the most stressful aspects of a divorce for children is the feeling that they must choose sides between two adversarial parents. This is obviously uncomfortable for all parties involved, and not something any parent wants to put their child through.

Divorce medication can help parents arrive at more peaceful agreements regarding issues such as finances and custody. If your child is able to see you and your ex-spouse communicating in a civil and even cooperative way, he or she is less likely to feel the need to choose sides.

Gain Tools for Effective Co-Parenting

Co-parenting does not come naturally to most people, and it takes some getting used to. There are bound to be disagreements about bed times, schedules, homework rules, and a number of other parenting decisions. These things can be difficult to agree on, even when both parents are on good terms. Divorce mediation is a great resource for newly divorced parents to learn about co-parenting best practices. A professional mediator will be able to help parents set up ground rules and continue the minimum level of healthy and open communication necessary to ensure consistency.

Finding a Qualified Divorce Mediation Expert

There’s no doubt that a qualified divorce mediator can bring some peace and even comfort to the difficult process of divorce. That said, there are plenty of mediocre divorce mediators who don’t have the experience or skills necessary to genuinely help. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and are in need of a divorce mediation expert, make sure that you do your research before hiring one. Most divorce mediators have online reviews and testimonies that are public. Interview prospective mediators and find out how much experience they have and what their qualifications are. A qualified expert can facilitate the experience for you and your children — so it’s worth doing the work to find the best professional in your area.