It is not essential that you ever appear in Court (or before a Judge) in your divorce case. In the vast majority of cases, the parties never appear in court for any hearings or a trial on the merits.
Maricopa County cases typically require a simple status conference - known as a Resolution Management Conference ("RMC"). This is merely an opportunity for the Court to become familiar with your case and schedule future hearings and events in order to expedite resolution of your case. It is important to note that no evidence is heard at a RMC and the Court has no authority to make any decisions in your case at a RMC.
When a case cannot be resolved via mediation and/or agreements of the parties, the Court will ultimately make a decision in your case by conducting a trial but this is relatively rare. With some flexibility on the part of the parties, it is likely that the case will be resolved prior to trial. There are certain cases (typically involving complex financial/real estate issues and/or difficult custody matters - substance or other abuse) which may require a decision by the Judge in your case.
In summary, the flexibility of the parties and the willingness of both parties to compromise will ultimately determine whether or not your case will require the decision of a Judge and your appearance in a courtroom.