Entering a Marriage in Tennessee
A valid marriage in Tennessee requires consenting, capable parties and a ceremony performed by an ordained Minister, Rabbi, Judge or a Member of a Legislative Body. The parties must obtain a license at least three days before the ceremony from the County Clerk in the county where one of the parties resides. Neither a blood test nor a physical exam is required in Tennessee for a marriage license. Both people must be at least 18 years of age, but with parental consent a person can marry as young as 16. If the parties present a certification that they completed premarital counseling, the marriage license fee is waived.
A valid marriage cannot be entered into between lineal decedents or ancestors. For example, in Tennessee marriages are not allowed between a parent and child, a grandparent and a child or between siblings or first cousins. A marriage license will not be issued if it appears that either of the applicants is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A marriage cannot be legally entered into if one of the parties is still married to another person. A marriage will be regarded as dissolved, however, if either party has been absent for five years and is not known to be alive.
Generally, if a marriage is valid where it was conducted, that marriage will also be valid in Tennessee.
If a woman decides to assume the last name of her husband she may do so, but she is not required to do so. No legal paperwork is necessary, but if she wants to assume his name she should change her driver's license and notify her creditors and government agencies, such as the Social Security Department and commission (voter registration).
The names of children do not automatically change when a parent marries. A special petition must be filed with the court and the court must grant permission for the change. A name change alone does not change the legal rights of or relationships with the child.