Normally the parties will try to settle their case. See section on Marital Dissolution Agreement. If that does not work, the attorneys will normally try to settle the case. These approaches are dynamic and can both go on at the same time. Sometimes despite the best efforts of everyone, the case will not settle. Before going to the ultimate test of a trial, there is the alternative of mediation.
Mediation is negotiation with a neutral party’s assistance. The mediator is not an advocate for either spouse. The mediator facilitates the process and does not “take sides” or make decisions for you. They merely facilitate settlement. I recommend this and urge you to ask me more about it for your specific case. Even if your spouse is opposed to mediation, the court can still order it.
You may want to consider arbitration. In arbitration, the arbitrator makes a final decision. This is like a judge, but you must pay the arbitrator and you are bound by the decision.