Marriage and Divorce
Should you desire to get married during your time here in the states, you will need to abide by the following instructions.
Application of Marriage Form
You may complete the downloadable form or fill one out at the County Clerk’s Office.
Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 36-3-104(a) (1997), “No county clerk nor deputy clerk shall issue a marriage license until the applicants make an application in writing, stating the names, ages, addresses and social security numbers of both the proposed male and female contracting parties and the names and addresses of the parents, guardian or next of kin of both parties.” The application must be sworn to by both parties. Id. The requirement of a social security number was added by legislative amendment, Acts 1997, ch. 551, 30, effective July 1, 1997.
Marriage License Requirements
- Proof of date of birth (Government Issued Photo Identification or Certified Birth Certificate) AND…
- Proof of Social Security Number (for individuals that have been issued one.)
- Both parties must appear together at the 700 2nd Ave South, Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37210 (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F) and must have proof that they are 18 or older. If either party is under the age of 18, they must be accompanied by his/her parents. Tennessee law does not permit those under the age of 16 to marry without a court order.
- The fee for a marriage license is $99.50. However, license applicants who have completed a premarital preparation course (see below) within a year prior to the date of application for the license are exempted from paying $60.00 of this fee. The couple must provide a Certificate of Completion form (download and print Certificate of Completion here) that has been completed and signed by the course provider. (Course provider’s signature on the Certificate of Completion must be notarized).
- The marriage license is valid for thirty (30) days from issuance and is good for ceremonies performed anywhere in Tennessee.
“Solemnization” refers to the approval process of a marriage license. Licenses themselves are invalid until solemnized. The following is a list of those who can legally solemnize marriage certificates:
- All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders of every religious belief, more than 18 years of age, having the care of souls.
- Current and former members of county legislative bodies.
- County mayors/executives and former county mayors/executives.
- Current and former judges and chancellors of this state.
- Current and former judges of general sessions courts.
- The governor.
- The county clerk of each county.
- Current and former speakers of the senate and speakers of the house of representatives.
- Mayors of municipalities.
If you have a formal religious ceremony, your officiant may sign the license and return it to the County Clerk’s office to finalize the process. If you do NOT have a religious marriage ceremony, you will need to contact the Nashville General Sessions Court to arrange a civil ceremony. Call (615) 862-8317 to make an appointment. The court is located at 408 2nd Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37210.
Premarital Preparation Course
To qualify for the exemption by attending a premarital preparation course, both applicants must submit a Certification of Completion completed by the course provider, showing that they have attended the course together, or separately, within one year of the date of application to the County Clerk for the license. The Certification of Completion form defines the law as to qualifications of persons who are eligible to conduct the four (4) hours of premarital preparation training required by public Chapter No. 854.
The new law gives minimal guidance as to the content of the course. It states that the course may include:
• Conflict management and resolution
• Communication skills
• Financial responsibilities
• Children and parenting responsibilities
• Data compiled from available information relating to problems reported by married couples that seek marital or individual counseling
• Personalities and families-of-origin
• Intimacy and sexuality
• Long-term goals
The types of persons who can provide the approved premarital preparation course are:
• Psychologist (as defined under TCA 63-11-203)
• Licensed Marital and Family Therapist (as defined under TCA 63-22-115)
• Professional Counselor (as defined un TCA 63-22-104)
• Official representative of a religious Institution (recognized under TCA 63-22-204)
• Clinical Social Worker (as defined under TCA Title 63-Ch.23, Part 1)
• Clinical Pastoral Therapist (as defined under TCA Title 63, Ch. 22, Part 2)
• Psychological Examiner (as defined under TCA 63-11-202)
• Any other instructor approved for the judicial district
For more information on the marriage process, visit http://nashvilleclerk.com/living/marriage-license/ or call (615) 862-6256.
Divorce is a far more complicated procedure than marriage, whether it is amicable or otherwise. ISSS does not claim expertise in this area, but many suggest that given the complexity of the process, the first step should be to contact a divorce lawyer. See a list of local attorneys here: http://lawyer-referral.nashvillebar.org/lawyer-attorney-1734483.html
We do recommend that you educate yourself thoroughly before you take action. Learn more about divorce proceedings and other related resources here: http://www.divorcesupport.com/divorce/Starting-Your-Divorce-3030.html
Please note before you initiate a divorce that counseling is available to Vanderbilt students and scholars through the Psychological and Counseling Center. You may learn about their services at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/pcc/about