Generally speaking, people under the age of majority have fewer rights and responsibilities than adults. In most states, the age of majority is 18.
Examples of what people can do only after they have reached the age of majority are the right to vote and the right to enter into legal contracts. Included amongst the types of activities a person can engage in only after reaching the age of majority is also the ability to purchase a lottery ticket in most states.
States, including Tennessee, also recognize that people under the age of majority still have to make certain decisions on their own. For example, those under the age of majority (also known as "minors") can consent to a variety of medical procedures without a parent's consent. Tennessee's legal age laws, for example, allow minors to petition a court for emancipation. In addition, in the state, minors can obtain contraceptives without a parent's consent under a handful of circumstances.
The following chart summarizes Tennessee legal age laws. It provides additional links to related resources.
|Age of Majority
|Eligibility for Emancipation
- Under § 29-31-101 et seq., a minor can petition a court to be emancipated. No minimum age is set by any statute.
- Under § 58-3-103, a minor is eligible for emancipation if they are enlisted in the armed forces or are married.
|Contracts by Minors
- Under § 50-5-207, minors may enter into contracts.
- Under § 49-7-103(b), minors may also enter into contracts for student loans.
|Minors' Ability to Sue
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Under § 68-34-107, minors may receive contraceptives if they are pregnant, a parent, or are married.
- Under § 63-6-229, minors may consent to medical care with a parent or guardian's consent, if such consent is not possible for a variety of reasons.
- Under § 63-6-220, minors may consent to medical treatments related to substance abuse.
- Under § 63-6-222, minors may consent to medical treatments in cases of emergency.
- Under § 63-6-223, minors may consent to medical treatments related to pregnancy.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
How Do I Become an Emancipated Minor in Tennessee?
According to Tennessee law, the chancery court may grant a minor's emancipation from their parents. Emancipation is a process by which a minor becomes an adult in the eyes of the law, with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with this status. To seek emancipation, the minor and "next friend" must apply in writing, including the names and addresses of the minor's parents (or nearest kin). In that document, they must also state the reason for emancipation. The court will consider a number of factors, chiefly whether the minor has the maturity and means to support themselves and whether the minor is better off living apart from their parents.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about all laws in Tennessee, including those related to age:
- At Tennessee Law, you'll find links to all laws of the state, including those related to age.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Tennessee Legal Age Laws: Related Resources
For more information, consider reviewing the following resources, as well:
Get Professional Legal Help with Your Legal Age Concerns
States set age limits for certain activities, such as driving a car or becoming a legal adult. If you have specific questions about Tennessee's legal age laws or need legal counsel for a particular issue, you should contact a Tennessee family law attorney near you.