From irreconcilable personal differences to difficult financial issues, U.S. couples divorce for many reasons. The American Psychological Association reports that 40 to 50% of American marriages ultimately end. Over the past decade, more and more divorcing couples have looked to settle separations outside of court, either through a mediated or collaborative divorce.

Both mediation and collaboration during divorce offer the advantages of incurring lower costs, avoiding litigation and finding custom solutions that fit a family’s specific circumstances. However, collaborative divorce offers important legal protections for both parties as well. Here are a few reasons to consider a collaborative course when facing separation from your spouse.

Getting fair representation

Mediated divorces rely on a disinterested third-party representative to resolve disputes between separating partners and come to legal agreements. However, a third-party mediator ultimately does not represent either spouse individually. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains her or his own legal counsel. While collaborative representatives are generally committed to a common goal of resolution, they are equally committed to ensuring outcomes that are in their clients’ most favorable interests.

Finding custom family solutions

Whether divorcing partners have significant shared assets or business holdings to disentangle or need to plan for the future of shared children, collaborative divorce offers separating couples much more control than litigation. When a divorce goes to court, legal statutes may have the final say about important decisions ranging from property division to child custody. During collaboration, couples may be able to work toward unique solutions to their specific circumstances without court intervention but with the aid of vital legal counsel.

Planning for the future

As Forbes notes, the collaborative divorce process may also minimize the financial damage involved in separation. In addition to avoiding direct court costs, collaboration often involves a shared interdisciplinary team of financial specialists, child therapists and other professionals who can help divorcing couples to develop the strongest plan possible for the future of the whole family.