McPartlin, best known as one half of the TV duo Ant and Dec, was represented by lawyers while Ms Armstrong attended the preliminary hearing.
Judge Mr Justice Mostyn asked barrister Jonathan Southgate QC, who is leading the presenter's legal team, why he was "not here".
He added: "There isn't one law for the famous and one for the rest of the community. The rules say he was supposed to be here, and that can be reported."
Mr Mostyn added: "He has been told off."
The judge indicated that he might have excused McPartlin's non-attendance had he been contacted in advance and given a reason for it.
Mr Mostyn began analysing issues relating to the division of assets in the Family Division of the High Court.
The judge has placed limits on what can be reported with regards to financial matters.
McPartlin, 42, had asked the judge to impose reporting restrictions.
The TV star and Ms Armstrong were granted a divorce in 30 seconds on the grounds of adultery on 16 October.
The divorce will be finalised if neither party raises a case against the making of a decree absolute within six weeks of that date.
Ms Armstrong had sought the divorce, with court documents indicating that "the respondent had committed adultery and that the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent".
The couple were together for more than 20 years and were married for 11 of them.
A representative said in a statement at the time: "In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after 11 years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin.
"Ant asks for privacy at this difficult time, for both himself, Lisa and their immediate families."
The presenter's marriage breakdown came after he entered rehab in 2017.
McPartlin had struggled with a two-year addiction to painkillers after treatment for a knee operation.
He checked into a private clinic earlier this year after pleading not guilty to drink-driving.
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The TV star is not presenting this year's series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! alongside Declan Donnelly.
The presenter, who is taking a break from his media commitments, said in September that he had been sober for six months.