Going to the Memphis/Shelby County Courthouse to Finalize Your Divorce?

A lot of our clients are fortunate enough to have never had a need to travel to downtown Memphis to the courthouse.  So when it comes time to finalize their Shelby County divorce and they need to appear at their hearing, they have no idea where to go!  Here’s a brief look at our Shelby County Courthouse:

Memphis - Shelby County Courthouse

Memphis - Shelby County Courthouse

The Courthouse was built in 1910, and is currently listed in the National Historic Register.  It’s located at 140 Adams Avenue in the heart of downtown Memphis and takes up a city block.  There are several parking lots and garages nearby, or you can park on the streets nearby.  When you arrive at the Courthouse for a divorce hearing, you will be going to one of two places – either a Circuit Court courtroom or a Chancery Court courtroom.  Both courts take divorce cases, and when a divorce is filed it is randomly assigned to one of those two courts.  Your attorney, in scheduling your hearing with you, should inform you which place you need to be.

Once inside, you must go through a metal detector and have any bags with you examined through an x-ray machine, much as you would at the airport.  After you pass through security you may proceed to your courtroom.  There are signs everywhere giving you listings of room numbers, and you should easily be able to navigate to where you need to go.

As you walk the Courthouse, you might recognize some of the hallways and courtrooms – our Shelby County Courthouse has been featured in such movies as Silence of the Lambs, The Firm, The Client, and The People vs. Larry Flynt!  And look at each room doorknob – many have the seal of Shelby County imprinted on to them.

Once you reach your courtroom you will meet your divorce lawyer outside the door and follow their guidance for where to go once inside the courtroom and once called by the judge.  When your hearing is concluded your divorce is declared final and you are free to leave.  Your attorney will send you your final divorce decree.  Hopefully you’ve just concluded your one and only visit to the Shelby County Courthouse!

Memphis domestic violence victims – You need help!

Last week Michael Lollar of the Commercial Appeal wrote an article highlighting the growth of domestic violence cases in Memphis over the past year, stressing that out of 4,001 domestic violence cases last year there were 35 deaths and a four percent increase in repeat offenders.  In our previous post, we discussed the possibilities surrounding divorcing a jailed spouse, and we want you to know that the same options exist for those who are the victims of domestic violence.Tennessee grounds for divorce include two separate references to cases of abuse:  The husband or wife is guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards the spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper, which may also be referred to in pleadings as inappropriate marital conduct,” and “The husband or wife has offered such indignities to the spouse’s person as to render the spouse’s position intolerable, and thereby forced the spouse to withdraw.”  As we mentioned in the last post, you can seek either a “no fault” divorce or, should the matter become contested, you can file for divorce on one of the above grounds.  Mississippi also provides for victims of domestic violence, citing as grounds for divorce: “Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.”

There are many resources both locally and nationwide to reach out to should you become the victim of domestic abuse.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 1-800-356-6767 or 1-800-799-7233, is an excellent resource, as is the local CAAP Domestic Violence Program Hotline, at 901-272-2221.

If you’re the victim of domestic violence DO NOT stay in the relationship. No matter what you may hope, things rarely turn for the better. Seek counseling today!

Can I get a Tennessee or Mississippi divorce even if I was married in another state?


Can I get a divorce in Tennessee even if I was married in Mississippi (or vice versa)?


The State in which you were married does not have anything to do with the State in which you can get divorced or separated.  If either you or your spouse have lived in Tennessee or Mississippi for more than six months then Tennessee or Mississippi will have jurisdiction to to grant your divorce.