There are two ways of resolving the financial and parenting issues that you and your spouse must address in a divorce: (i) you can reach a mutual agreement about them or (ii) a judge can make decisions for you.
While most couples fear that mutual agreement is impossible without court intervention, in fact, fewer than 10% of divorce cases are resolved by a judge. The vast, vast majority - over 90% - of divorce cases are resolved by the couple themselves, by mutual agreement. In other words, they are "settled."
Settlement can be hard to imagine when you're really at odds with your spouse. But it's the overwhelming statistical probability in your case. In light of that, the first decision you face when beginning the divorce process is really what kind of process you wish to settle in. Do you prefer to be in a court-based process (litigation) or an out-of-court process? If the latter, i.e., if you prefer an out-of-court process, you have several options, including mediation, Collaborative Law and more traditional settlement negotiation.
Each type of divorce process has its own distinct advantages and potential drawbacks. No matter what route you choose, giving due consideration to the process first will put you in the best possible position to reach a solid settlement with your spouse.