If you're 18 or older, the decision to get married is between you and your future spouse, and is arguably none of the state's business (as long as it's a valid marriage). However, minors do not have the same rights or responsibilities as adults, even with respect to marriage, and generally must obtain parental consent or a court order. These laws were put in place to protect young people who may otherwise be coerced into marriage against their best interests.
The age at which minors may get married is determined by state law, with some variance among the states. In Tennessee, men and women as young as 17 may get married with parental consent, while judicial consent will suffice in the absence of a parent (through estrangement, emancipation, death, etc.). No one under the age of 17 may get married in Tennessee.
The code section and main provisions of Tennessee's marriage age requirement laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Getting Married section for additional articles and resources.
|Code Section||36-3-104 to 107|
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent||Male: 17; Female: 17; (3 day waiting period except for certain circumstances where waived)|
|Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent||Male: 18; Female: 18|
|Comments||Minors under 17 may obtain license in special circumstances.|
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.
If you meet the age requirements to get married in Tennessee, you will need to apply for a state marriage license. Both parties are required to appear at the court for the issuance of the license with proof of your Social Security numbers. If you are between 17 and 18, your parents must accompany you and sign an approval affidavit, which is subject to a three-day waiting period. If you are between 18 and 21, you will need to present a birth certificate, but any valid picture ID is adequate for those 21 and older.
Contact a qualified attorney.