If the case is settled out of court, must I still go before a judge?
Yes. Only a judge can grant a divorce. Once all the documents are in order, one of the parties signs off on the divorce decree and the other party goes before the judge to prove up the divorce. The lawyer asks you a number of questions, which mostly require only a yes or no answer. The actual hearing takes only about four minutes. The time spent waiting for your turn, however, can be as long as two hours, though usually the wait time is about an hour.