Marriage Law Tennessee


The marriage Laws of Tennessee is governed by Title36 "Domestic Relations" of the Tennessee Code. Tennessee's marriage licensing laws make explicit the long-standing public policy of this state to recognize the family as essential to social and economic order and the common good and as the fundamental building block of the society. To that end, it is further the public policy of this state that the historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state in order to provide the unique and exclusive rights and privileges to marriage.


Marriage cannot be contracted with a lineal ancestor or descendant, nor the lineal ancestor or descendant of either parent, nor the child of a grandparent, nor the lineal descendants of husband or wife, as the case may be, nor the husband or wife of a parent or lineal descendant.


Before being joined in marriage, the parties shall present to the minister or officer a license under the hand of a county clerk in this state, directed to such minister or officer, authorizing the solemnization of a marriage between the parties. Such license shall be valid for thirty (30) days from its issuance by the clerk.

The county clerk issuing a marriage license is hereby authorized to record and certify any license used to solemnize a marriage which is properly signed by the officiant when such license is returned to the issuing county clerk. The issuing county clerk shall forward the record to the office of vital records to be filed and registered with such office. If a license issued by a county clerk in Tennessee is used to solemnize a marriage outside Tennessee, such marriage and parties, their property and their children shall have the same status as if the marriage were solemnized in this state. A county clerk is prohibited from issuing a license for a marriage which is prohibited in this state.


Both the bride and groom must appear in person at the time of applying.

ID Requirement

The man and woman shall submit along with the application for marriage license a valid driver's license or Certified Birth Certificate or Valid Passport for the purpose of ID requirement.

If previously married

A copy of Divorce Decree to be submitted if previously married.

Waiting Period

As such there is no waiting period prescribed by law of the state for obtaining marriage license; however a 3-day waiting period is necessary if either applicant is under 18.

Marriageable Age

It is unlawful for any county clerk or deputy clerk in this state to issue a marriage license to any person where either of the contracting parties is under sixteen (16) years of age, except as provided in this part.

Consent of Parent/Guardian

When either applicant is under eighteen (18) years of age, the parents, guardian, next of kin or party having custody of the applicant shall join in the application, under oath, stating that the applicant is sixteen (16) years of age or over and that the applicant has such person's consent to marry

If the applicant is in the legal custody of any public or private agency or is in the legal custody of any person other than a parent, next of kin or guardian, then such person or the duly authorized representative of such agency shall join in the application with the parent, guardian or next of kin stating, under oath, that the applicant is sixteen (16) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age and that the applicant has such person's consent to marry. This subsection does not apply to applicants who are in the legal custody of the department of mental health and developmental disabilities


A fee of $95 is to be paid at the clerks office unless 4 hours of marriage counseling is being received by the man and woman wishing to marry.


A marriage license is valid for 30 days from the date of application. The license can only be used within the State of Tennessee.


The following persons are authorized by the law of the State to solemnize marriage:

  1. All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and
  2. all members of the county legislative bodies,
  3. county mayors,
  4. judges,
  5. chancellors,
  6. former chancellors and former judges of this state,
  7. former county executives or county mayors of this state,
  8. former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions,
  9. the governor,
  10. the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate,
  11. the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives,
  12. the county clerk of each county and the mayor of any municipality in the state may solemnize the rite of matrimony.


No formula need be observed in such solemnization, except that the parties shall respectively declare, in the presence of the minister or officer, that they accept each other as husband and/or wife


One authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony shall endorse on the license the fact and time of the marriage, and sign the license, and return it to the county clerk within three (3) days from the date of marriage.