Divorces can be messy and complicated. But an amicable divorce need not be impossible to accomplish. A peaceful divorce not only saves you from mental anguish, but it also protects your kids from the pain of seeing their parents fight acrimoniously. You can prevent the narrative of family from ending on a tragic note in your children’s lives.

Here are a few types of divorce proceedings that possibly could make it easier on all involved:

1. Do-It-Yourself

Divorces are extremely complex and involve complicated terms, conditions, and clauses. Separations become even more complex when the marriage is one which has lasted for several years with shared homes, children, assets, and debts. In such situations, a DIY divorce will bring more confusion and heartaches than otherwise.

In DIY divorces, the couple mutually agrees on separation terms and drafts the final documents together. This is a suitable method if you have been married only for a few years and there are no children involved. If you have a prenuptial agreement, then drafting a DIY divorce is easy. This method is also suitable if there are no or very few assets to be divided and, most important, if both partners are willing and interested in having a peaceful and dignified divorce.

2. Mediation

Mediation has gained popularity recently. The whole process is private and there is no possibility of public mudslinging in courtrooms. Mediators are not lawyers but they should be well-versed in family and divorce laws. They stay neutral and do not try to tilt the terms of agreement in favor of either party.

The pros include savings in terms of money and time, and the fact that mediation spares children courtroom drama, making it less stressful for them. Couples also have more say in the final outcome, as opposed to a court trial, where the jury’s verdict is binding.

One of the drawbacks of going for mediation is that the mediators may not always have your best interests at heart. They may try to arrive at an agreement at any cost because that is their job. You should keep in mind that no agreement is better than a bad agreement.

Only go forward with mediation if you are fully sure that your spouse will be honest and sincere during the proceedings. Also, do not forget to have your attorney vet the final agreement.

Collaborative divorce.

In collaborative divorces, both partners hire attorneys to work together and negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Attorneys for both sides should be experts in the collaborative divorce process. Other professionals, such as financial planners and therapists, also work with you to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible for you and your loved ones. If you do not reach an agreement, both parties will have to start over with different lawyers.Collaborative divorces can be considered if you are sure that your spouse will be honest about financial details and will not hide assets. Also, an emotionally abusive, controlling, and dominating spouse will not be a good partner in a collaborative divorce.

Litigated divorce.

Litigated divorce is considered the traditional method and most couples opt for it. Litigated divorces are common because very few couples stay amicable and collaborative through divorce proceedings. Usually, the demand for divorce is unilateral with the other spouse unwilling to go through with it. Since from the beginning it is on an adversarial note, many divorce proceedings end up in courtrooms.Responsible lawyers try to work out an amicable agreement or settlement before the divorce goes to trial. Settlement terms need to include details regarding alimony, child custody, and division of assets and liabilities. If the couple cannot come to a mutually agreeable settlement, then a litigated divorce follows.

A mature understanding of the situation and the unique needs of your children will help you choose the best option. Also, all divorces are not same, so do not compare your situation with that of your friends.

Ending any relationship is difficult, more so when it is an intimate one like that of a marriage. But exploring all options and keeping an open mind will help you in this tough period. Also, rely on a strong support system to help you see the good and the positives in the decisions that you make, and deter you from committing mistakes.