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Tennessee Marriage Laws

When you propose to your sweetheart, you usually present them with a ring, not a contract. But, when you get married, you do enter into a legal contract with your spouse. In addition to providing a variety of rights, marriage imposes responsibilities on each spouse.

For this reason, each state has specific laws pertaining to marriage. These laws not only outline each spouse's rights and liabilities, but also the prerequisites and procedure for getting married. For example, in Tennessee, a marriage license can't be issued to anyone who appears drunk. 

Tennessee Marriage Laws: The Basics

If you have a legal question, the best place to find your answer is within the actual text of a statute. Unfortunately, statutes are usually written in burdensome "legalese." That's why reading the overview of a statute in plain English can be incredibly helpful. In the following chart, you'll find an overview of marriage laws in Tennessee as well as links to applicable statutes.


Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 3:

Age Requirements

A marriage license cannot be issued if:

  • Either person is under 17 years old*; or
  • One person is 17 years old and the other person is at least 4 years older than them.

*When either person is under 18 years old (unless they're emancipated), the parent/guardian must give their consent and affirm that the applicant is at least 16 years old.

Who May Solemnize a Marriage?

The following individuals may solemnize a marriage in Tennessee:

  • Spiritual leader of any religion (who's at least 18 years old);
  • Member of county legislative body;
  • Mayor;
  • Judge;
  • Chancellor;
  • Governor;
  • Speaker of the senate;
  • Speaker of the house of representatives; and
  • County clerk.

Former judges and other government officials may also solemnize a marriage, but people who received their ordinations online cannot legally solemnize a marriage.

Prohibited Marriages

An individual can't marry their child, parent, sibling (whole or half-blood), aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, the lineal descendant of husband or wife, or the husband or wife of a parent or lineal descendant.

Related Statute(s)

Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 3:

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.

Tennessee Marriage Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links listed below.

Learn More About Marriage Laws in Tennessee: Talk to a Lawyer

While the steps required to get married are fairly straightforward, the rights and responsibilities of being married aren't always so clear. If you have questions about Tennessee marriage law, it's a good idea to get in touch with a skilled family law attorney near you.

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