I think the first thing to establish is the level of ''hostility'' there is going to be.
What are the chances of you both agreeing etc?
If you are able to agree the child and financial side of things then the cheapest option would be to use a DIY or managed divorce package (like the one ofered by wiki, although others are available).
It is always a good idea to have a solicitor look over the financial settlement to ensure its reasonable.
I can only relate my own experience in general terms and what I would do now if given the oportunity of a re-run. My own separation
was a high conflict affair due to the children being the battleground. Communication reduced to virtually none. In my own case this was, in my view, worsened by the conduct of the other sides sols with frequent allegations, amplified in print for the intended benefit of the wider audience and to create eve more frustration in myself as the applicant in the Children Act proceedings. It is easy in such circumstances tobe drawn into a vicious circle of pointless inflamatory correspondence, which in most cases, never sees the light of day in a courtroom. It does however benefit the firm of solicitrs who benefit through continual racking up of chargeable units. Not only that but sometimes their advice is pretty poor. This is especially true of some junior sols who are more likely to fear the attentions of a senior partner. I would agree that the best way is to go to mediation
and agree something and package it up via a solicitor. Certainly only use one where you absolutely need one, resisting the temptation to bite back to every allegation. You will soon be penniless and your ability to gain the reolution will be hamstrung. I found what you really want to save your money for is a good Barrister having been to an actual children Act trial as a litigant in person and gone past FDR. I am now penniless though having employed a solicitor till I could no longer afford one and the house is a casualty....you decide!You may not get everything you want by attempting to reach mutual agreement outside the court and without sols writing letters back nd forth but financially you need to think about the drain of a long running saga over diminishing asset piles.