If a hearing is required it is the last step in the divorce, and usually the legal end of the marriage. At the divorce hearing, the judge grants the divorce, and after the hearing, the court issues a divorce decree or judgment in the mail.
In an uncontested divorce, the divorce hearing is a formality at which the judge reviews all the divorce paperwork and asks a few perfunctory and easily answered questions. Due to the simplicity of this type of hearing, it is often not even required. If it is required, the hearing finalizes the terms and conditions of the divorce — the division of property, child custody, support and visitation, alimony payments. In uncontested actions, the spouses have already discussed the issues so they are prepared for the final hearing.
Some jurisdictions require both the filing and responding spouse to attend the divorce hearing. In other jurisdictions, only the filing spouse must attend. In some jurisdictions, when the couple files for divorce jointly, neither spouse must attend.
In contested cases, before a divorce comes to a final hearing, numerous shorter hearings resolve emergency issues, such as child custody pending the trial. Hearings also address legal issues that arise. These hearings, which are often procedural, may result in temporary orders that remain in effect on the end of the divorce.