A first divorce “hearing” is usually a hearing on temporary orders.
Sometimes, parties cannot agree on who will get to live in the house during the pendency of the divorce, what the possession schedule for the children will be, or how money will be handled while the divorce is pending. The court has the ability to decide all of those questions, and a hearing with evidence from both parties – like a mini-trial – will be held to put temporary orders in place to govern the parties while the case is pending.
Often, parties are able to avoid a hearing on these issues and can come to an agreement on who will move out of the marital residence, where the kids will live, how money will be spent, etc. If not, one or both parties will file a Motion for Temporary Orders, and the judge will decide those important questions for them.
Other issues may be the subject of hearings, such as temporary restraining orders and injunctions, protective orders (in cases involving family violence), disputes over access to financial information and other important documents, and any other issue that needs to be addressed before a final settlement can be reached or final trial conducted.