A trial is scheduled if some or all of your issues cannot be resolved in negotiations. It is a last resort and the final step in the dissolution process. My policy is to prepare your case as if it were going to be tried before a judge, but to negotiate it with the understanding you want to avoid that result. Settlement requires flexibility and negotiations while a trial requires zelous advocacy.
Many cases will resolve in the process between the filing of your Petition and the scheduling of your trial. In my experience all parties want resolve short of trial and to keep their case "out of court". In most cases their willingness to resolve is successful and their issues successfully negotiated. My approach is to build a strong case in anticipation of a trial, while at the same time negotiating in a good faith attempt to avoid it.
Preparation for trial involves a process called "Discovery" during which each party is obligated to disclose and exchange all information needed to resolve all issues. It is important to be thorough and complete and to review and exchange all information each party will need to make their own independent evaluation of the assets and liabilities and budget needs. A skilled and experienced attorney can guide you through that process in an economical and organized manner that will not only help you in negotiations, but also in the even the matter ultimately proceeds to trial.
In some cases expert testimony is required. There are special rules regarding the discovery process and expert testimony that will require that you retain and disclose your experts and their opinions well in advance of the trial. Failure to meet these important deadlines can result in the court's refusal to allow the expert testimony.
A trial requires advance planning and preparation and it is important to retain counsel early enough in the process to allow time for sufficent preparation. If you are unsure whether your issues can be negotiated you should retain the services of an experienced trial attorney to handle your divorce. I have handled hundreds of trials in many different courts and offer years of zelous trial experience.