NASHVILLE, TN, — Stephanie J. Williams has announced she is a democratic candidate for Judge of  Circuit Court in Davidson County, Tennessee, Division IV (commonly referred to as Fourth Circuit Court), in a special primary election that will take place March 5, 2024.  Williams is one of three candidates vying to complete the term of the late Judge Philip E. Smith, who died unexpectedly in September 2022. Williams’ candidacy is perhaps the most anticipated in the race.    

Fourth Circuit Court is a family law court that hears adoptions, divorce, child custody, child support, and termination of parental rights cases, as well as dependency and neglect appeals from juvenile court and other family law related matters.  

Williams’ 20+ year family law career started in 1998 when she began attending classes at night while working during the day to complete her undergraduate degree. She then commuted between Nashville and Knoxville to attend law school at the University of Tennessee School of Law. She began her law practice in the Law Office of Richard Manson, who is the treasurer for her campaign.  Williams says her own experience as a litigant in her family law case led to her passion for family law.  From that experience, she founded the Family Justice Center in 2005, with grant funds from the State of Tennessee, and represented hundreds of litigants in family law cases at reduced rates.  

More recently, Williams served nearly 9 years as the Special Master of the Fourth Circuit Court under the late Judge Philip E. Smith.   In this judicial role, she handled thousands of family law cases through judicial settlement conferences, special master hearings, and order of protection hearings.  She also is credited with creating a streamlined system to help self-represented litigants in uncontested divorce cases, and she was instrumental in implementing a more efficient system for handling adoption cases.

Despite her important work in the Fourth Circuit Court and the overwhelming support of her colleagues and many notable community leaders, Williams was passed over by Governor Lee for the temporary appointment to this position.  Williams states, “That is when I decided to declare my candidacy to those who make the ultimate decision—the voters of Davidson County. I resigned from the Special Master’s position to campaign full-time to serve as Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court. I am excited for the future and the positive difference I can make in the lives of Nashville’s families and the family law court system.”  Williams pledges to make the family court system more accessible and affordable to litigants, using technology to conduct certain hearings remotely and creating more streamlined systems to handle cases more efficiently.   

Find more details of Williams’ candidacy, social media links, and a sign-up form for her mailing list on her campaign website at: