No, it is possible for a financial settlement to be negotiated without going to court. This can be done between the parties and their solicitors. It will help reduce the legal fees and court fees incurred by both sides.
When an agreement is reached negotiations outside of the court, it will be sent to the court in order for it to be checked to ensure that it is reasonable. The agreement is then approved by them court to make it a legally binding order.
While the majority of divorce cases can be agreed this way, if an agreement cannot be reached then it will still be necessary to go to court to achieve a financial settlement. The disadvantage of the court ruling on a settlement is that an element of control is lost by both parties with regards to the final terms of the settlement.