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What is a divorce referee?

Learn about a divorce referee. Find out what this position is and what these individuals do. See if you will have a referee assigned to your divorce.

Family courts in Tennessee use a divorce referee. This person is an impartial individual who oversees the divorce process. Every divorce will have a referee assignment. This position works on behalf of the court and government, not the couple getting the divorce.

Job duties

A divorce referee is a party to all divorce proceedings. The main job of this individual is to ensure the process conforms with all state and local laws. The referee will be present at all court hearings. They do not provide advice and do not make final decrees. They can, however, oversee temporary order hearings in a case to provide child support, alimony, and attorney fees during the divorce process.

Divorce referees work within their set county. Shelby County has eight referees who work on a part-time basis, but one of these people is present at every divorce hearing in the county.

Referee process

Shelby County divorce referees will hold hearings for temporary support matters on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. They operate from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm on those days. There is an option of special hearings Monday through Thursday, but individuals must set these up by appointment. These special meetings begin at 9:00 am each day, depending on the schedule of the referee’s office.

The referee’s office is at the Shelby County Courthouse. It is on the second floor. Individuals can contact the office through an online form to request a hearing. The online schedule will allow people to see if there is an opening for a hearing on their day of choice.

When scheduling a hearing, individuals must provide an email address or telephone number for contact information. It is also required to complete a filing with the court on the matters at hand before scheduling a referee hearing, which a person can do online through the court’s e-filing system.

The court will appoint the divorce referee to each case. With the exception of potential temporary hearings, the individuals filing for divorce will usually not have much interaction with the referee. It is important to note the limited authority and involvement of the referee in Tennessee. In other states, a referee or similar position may have more authority.

Those who are seeking a divorce should consult with an attorney, such as The Law Office of Jeffrey Jones. Divorce referees are not a party to the process and will not act as legal representation. Confusing their job for that of a lawyer could present issues in a divorce case.