Not all divorce proceedings start off in front of a judge as most would think. There are some cases that can be settled between the parties and their attorneys. However, if your case is not one of them a Preliminary Conference can be requested. Your attorney will file a request for a Preliminary Conference along with a document called a Request for Judicial Intervention in order to get a judge assigned to your case.
The Preliminary Conference is a court appearance geared towards making the judge familiar with the facts and issues of your case so they can set certain guidelines and move the case along in a structured manner. Once a judge is assigned they keep the case moving as you will have continual court appearances moving forward to hold everyone accountable.