A-26306, MAY 1, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 573

A-26306: May 1, 1929

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RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES - DEPENDENTS - STEPCHILD OF NAVAL OFFICER THE RULE THAT RELATIONSHIP BY AFFINITY TERMINATES WITH THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE WHICH CREATED IT IS APPLICABLE IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY CLAIMING INCREASED RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTIONS 5 AND 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10. 1929: THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PAY ON VOUCHER INCLOSED THEREWITH CHIEF RADIO ELECTRICIAN O. THE CHILD IS DESCRIBED AS A STEPSON. WHO IS STATED TO BE THE CHILD OF MRS. WHETHER THE OFFICER IS DIVORCED FROM "MRS. WILLIAMS" OR SHE IS DECEASED IS NOT STATED. IN RELATION TO THE OBLIGATION OF A HUSBAND TO MAINTAIN THE CHILDREN OF HIS WIFE BY A FORMER MARRIAGE IT IS SAID IN 1 BLACKSTONE COMM. 448.

A-26306, MAY 1, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 573

RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES - DEPENDENTS - STEPCHILD OF NAVAL OFFICER THE RULE THAT RELATIONSHIP BY AFFINITY TERMINATES WITH THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE WHICH CREATED IT IS APPLICABLE IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY CLAIMING INCREASED RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTIONS 5 AND 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 628, FOR A STEPCHILD UNDER SECTION 4 OF SAID ACT, AND THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929, 45 STAT. 1254.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO CAPT. E. D. RYAN, UNITED STATES NAVY, MAY 1, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PAY ON VOUCHER INCLOSED THEREWITH CHIEF RADIO ELECTRICIAN O. E. WILLIAMS, UNITED STATES NAVY, RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES AS WITH DEPENDENTS (CHILD). THE CHILD IS DESCRIBED AS A STEPSON, ALBERT GASTON CHAUVE, 11 RUE BOYER, BORDEAUX, FRANCE, WHO IS STATED TO BE THE CHILD OF MRS. WILLIAMS BY A FORMER MARRIAGE. WHETHER THE OFFICER IS DIVORCED FROM "MRS. WILLIAMS" OR SHE IS DECEASED IS NOT STATED.

THE TERM "STEPSON" DEFINES A DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP BY AFFINITY WHICH ARISES BETWEEN A MAN AND A SON OF HIS WIFE BY A FORMER MARRIAGE BY REASON OF THE MARRIAGE OF THE MAN AND THE BOY'S MOTHER.

IN RELATION TO THE OBLIGATION OF A HUSBAND TO MAINTAIN THE CHILDREN OF HIS WIFE BY A FORMER MARRIAGE IT IS SAID IN 1 BLACKSTONE COMM. 448, 449, THAT:

* * * BY THE INTERPRETATION WHICH THE COURTS OF LAW HAVE MADE UPON THESE STATUTES, IF A MOTHER OR GRANDMOTHER MARRIES AGAIN, AND WAS BEFORE SUCH SECOND MARRIAGE OF SUFFICIENT ABILITY TO KEEP THE CHILD, THE HUSBAND SHALL BE CHARGED TO MAINTAIN IT; FOR THIS, BEING A DEBT OF HERS WHEN SINGLE, SHALL LIKE OTHERS EXTEND TO CHARGE THE HUSBAND. BUT AT HER DEATH, THE RELATION BEING DISSOLVED, THE HUSBAND IS UNDER NO FURTHER OBLIGATION.

IN THE UNITED STATES RELATIONSHIP BY AFFINITY IS GENERALLY HELD TO TERMINATE WITH THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE WHICH CREATED IT, 2 C.J. 379; HENCE A PERSON IS NOT INCAPACITATED TO CONTRACT A MARRIAGE WITH A BLOOD RELATIVE OF HIS DECEASED OR DIVORCED WIFE. SEE 38 C.J. 1293. THE RULE THAT RELATIONSHIP BY AFFINITY TERMINATES WITH THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE WHICH CREATED IT HAS BEEN SO APPLIED AS TO RECOGNIZE AS VALID MARRIAGES BETWEEN A MAN AND THE DAUGHTER OF HIS DECEASED WIFE BY A FORMER MARRIAGE. SEE BACK V. BACK, 148 IOWA 223, L.R.A., 1916, C752.

THE SPACE PROVIDED IN THE VOUCHER FOR STATEMENT OF THE SUM CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUPPORT OF A CLAIMED DEPENDENT FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD FOR WHICH ALLOWANCES ARE CLAIMED IS LEFT BLANK. HOWEVER, THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER DOES OR DOES NOT SUPPORT THE CHILD OF HIS DECEASED WIFE BY A FORMER MARRIAGE WOULD ONLY TEND TO ESTABLISH THAT HE WAS IN LOCO PARENTIS TO THE CHILD, NOT THAT IT WAS HIS STEPCHILD.

THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE INCREASED SUBSISTENCE AND RENTAL ALLOWANCES TO AN OFFICER BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT HE IS IN LOCO PARENTIS TO A CHILD NOT HIS OWN. SUCH ALLOWANCES ARE AUTHORIZED TO AN OFFICER WITH DEPENDENTS, AND THE TERM DEPENDENTS IS DEFINED BY SECTION 4 OF THE ACT TO INCLUDE LAWFUL WIFE, CHILD, AND A MOTHER IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON HIM FOR HER CHIEF SUPPORT. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929, 45 STAT. 1254, DEFINES THE TERMS "CHILD" AND ,CHILDREN" AS USED IN SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 604, SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, AND IN SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 1, 1926, 44 STAT. 680, TO INCLUDE LEGITIMATE CHILDREN, STEPCHILDREN, AND ADOPTED CHILDREN WHEN SUCH ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE PERSON CLAIMING DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCE.

UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE WIFE OF THE OFFICER IS DECEASED OR DIVORCED, IT IS NECESSARY TO CONCLUDE THAT CHIEF RADIO ELECTRICIAN O. E. WILLIAMS DOES NOT HAVE A STEPSON WITHIN CONTEMPLATION OF THE LAW.

YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE OFFICER INCREASED ALLOWANCES AS AN OFFICER WITH DEPENDENTS (CHILD).