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Tennessee Legal Ages Laws

In general, people under the age of majority (18) have fewer rights and responsibilities than adults. For example, you must be 18 to vote, enter into legal contracts, or purchase a lottery ticket in most states. But states, including Tennessee, also recognize that people under the age of majority still have to make certain decisions on their own, and may not benefit from a parent's consent. Tennessee's legal age laws, for instance, allow minors to petition the court for emancipation and to obtain contraceptives (with some conditions).

Other than Tennessee's marriage age requirements (16 with parental consent), the state doesn't identify any specific ages under 18 with respect to certain legal processes or rights. The following chart summarizes Tennessee legal age laws, with additional links to related resources.

Age of Majority 18 (§1-3-105(1))
Eligibility for Emancipation By judicial petition, no minimum age specified (§29-31-101 et seq.)
Contracts by Minors May disaffirm within reasonable time after attaining age of majority; may also ratify expressly or by failure to disaffirm within reasonable time (common law)
Minors' Ability to Sue By representative, guardian ad litem, or next friend (R. Civ. Pro. 17.03)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Minors may receive contraceptives if pregnant, parent, or married (§68-34-107)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Tennessee family law 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 his or her 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. In order 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), and state the reason for emancipation. The court will consider a number of factors, chiefly whether the minor has the maturity and means to support him or herself and whether the minor is better off living apart from his or her parents.

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Tennessee Legal Age Laws: Related Resources

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