Filing Divorce in Shelby County, Tennessee

Filing for divorce and the cost of filing for divorce in Shelby County, Tennessee (includes residents of Memphis, Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, and Eads).

How to File a Divorce in Shelby Co., TN: Photo Shelby County Courthouse

How to File a Divorce in Shelby Co., TN: Photo Shelby County Courthouse

How to File a Divorce in Shelby Co., Tennessee

To file a divorce action in Shelby County, Tennessee, the following documents need to be prepared:

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Notice of Mandatory Injunctions
  • Confidential Information of the Parties
  • Summons

These documents are known as the “initial filings.” State approved forms for the initial filings may be found online at The forms “Request for Divorce,” “Spouses’ Personal Information,” and “Restraining Order for Divorcing Spouses” found online are simpler versions of the Complaint, Notice of Mandatory Injunctions, and Confidential Information forms typically filed by attorneys. The Summons form for a new divorce action in Shelby County can be found on the Shelby County Circuit Court’s website. This form is used for divorce actions filed in both Shelby County Circuit Court and Chancery Court and may be prepared ahead of time or at the Courthouse.

When filing for divorce in Shelby County, the Complaint for Divorce must first be proctored by the Shelby County Divorce Referee. The Referee will inspect the Complaint to ensure that proper legal language and information is present in the document and that Shelby County is the proper jurisdiction in which to file the Complaint. The Divorce Referee is located at the Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams Avenue, Room 327, Memphis, Tennessee 38103. There are a couple of ways you can go about getting your complaint reviewed by the Divorce Referee. If the Divorce Referee is in session, you may sit and wait for a break in the proceedings, but be forewarned, this could take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. You may also leave the Complaint in an inbox with the Referee’s secretary, but it is recommended that you specifically ask for it to be reviewed. You can typically pick the Complaint up after 24 hours, unless informed otherwise by the secretary. Once the Referee approves it, the Complaint is assigned to either Chancery Court or Circuit Court.

After the Court Referee has approved the Complaint, take the original, as well as several copies of the Complaint and other initial filings to the appropriate filing counter (Room 224 for Circuit Court or Room 308 for Chancery Court). The deputy clerk will file the original documents and stamp the additional copies and return them to you. Filing Fees will be assessed.

How much does is cost to file for divorce in Shelby County, Tennessee?

As of January 2020, filing fees for divorce are $381.50 if there are children and $306.50 if there are not, in both Circuit and Chancery Courts. An additional $42.00 fee will be assessed to have the divorce served through the sheriff’s department. You may also use a private process server instead.

Who is the Shelby County, Tennessee Divorce Referee?

Cary C. Woods

Where is the Shelby County, TN Chancery Court and Shelby County, TN Circuit Court and the Shelby County Court House located?

The Shelby County, Tennessee Courthouse is located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk’s office is located on the second floor of the courthouse, and the Shelby County Chancery Court Clerk and Master’s office is located on the third floor.

The links, mailing addresses, and phone numbers are as follows:

Temiika D. Gipson
Circuit Court Clerk
140 Adams Ave.
Room 324
Memphis, TN  38103
(901) 222-3800

W. Aaron Hall
Clerk and Master
140 Adams Ave.
Room 308
Memphis, TN  38103
(901) 222-3903

Google Map: Shelby County Courthouse and Shelby County Divorce Referee’s Office

References, Resources and More:

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