A-4176, AUGUST 8, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 165

A-4176: Aug 8, 1924

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PAY ROLL SIGNATURES - MARRIED WOMEN EMPLOYEES WHEN A WOMAN EMPLOYEE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE MARRIES HER LEGAL SURNAME BECOMES THAT OF HER HUSBAND AND SUCH SURNAME IS TO BE USED BY HER IN SIGNING THE PAY ROLL INSTEAD OF HER MAIDEN SURNAME. DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER A WOMAN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS MARRIED AND CONTINUES IN THE SERVICE MAY BE CARRIED ON THE PAY ROLL UNDER HER MAIDEN NAME OR WHETHER THE SURNAME OF HER HUSBAND MUST BE SHOWN ON THE PAY ROLL. NOTIFIED THE SUPERINTENDENT THAT SHE WAS TO BE MARRIED TO A MR. THAT SHE WAS SO MARRIED. ACCORDINGLY THE EMPLOYEE'S NAME WAS CHANGED ON THE PAY ROLL FROM JARVIS TO HUTSON. THE FOLLOWING RULE IS LAID DOWN: . IT IS STATED THAT "AT MARRIAGE THE WIFE TAKES THE HUSBAND'S SURNAME.'.

A-4176, AUGUST 8, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 165

PAY ROLL SIGNATURES - MARRIED WOMEN EMPLOYEES WHEN A WOMAN EMPLOYEE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE MARRIES HER LEGAL SURNAME BECOMES THAT OF HER HUSBAND AND SUCH SURNAME IS TO BE USED BY HER IN SIGNING THE PAY ROLL INSTEAD OF HER MAIDEN SURNAME.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 8, 1924:

BY YOUR REFERENCE DATED JULY 17, 1924, DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER A WOMAN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS MARRIED AND CONTINUES IN THE SERVICE MAY BE CARRIED ON THE PAY ROLL UNDER HER MAIDEN NAME OR WHETHER THE SURNAME OF HER HUSBAND MUST BE SHOWN ON THE PAY ROLL.

IT APPEARS THAT AN EMPLOYEE OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, DR. MARJORIE M. JARVIS, NOTIFIED THE SUPERINTENDENT THAT SHE WAS TO BE MARRIED TO A MR. HUTSON ON MAY 24, 1924, AND THAT SHE WAS SO MARRIED. ACCORDINGLY THE EMPLOYEE'S NAME WAS CHANGED ON THE PAY ROLL FROM JARVIS TO HUTSON. THE EMPLOYEE HAS SINCE REFUSED TO SIGN HER MARRIED NAME ON THE PAY ROLL AND HER ATTORNEY HAS NOTIFIED THE SUPERINTENDENT THAT THE EMPLOYEE DESIRES TO RETAIN HER MAIDEN NAME.

IN VOLUME 21, AMERICAN AND ENGLISH ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LAW, 312, THE FOLLOWING RULE IS LAID DOWN: ,MARRIED WOMEN--- BY CUSTOM A WOMAN AT MARRIAGE LOSES HER OWN SURNAME AND ACQUIRES THAT OF HER HUSBAND.' VOLUME 29, CYC. 264, ON THE SUBJECT OF HUSBAND AND WIFE, IT IS STATED THAT "AT MARRIAGE THE WIFE TAKES THE HUSBAND'S SURNAME.'

THE FOLLOWING QUOTATION IS TAKEN FROM VOLUME 1, PAGES 66 AND 67 OF SCHOULER'S WORK ON DOMESTIC RELATIONS:

MARRIAGE AT OUR LAW DOES NOT CHANGE THE MAN'S NAME, BUT IT CONFERS HIS SURNAME UPON THE WOMAN. UNTIL A DECREE OF DIVORCE GIVING A MARRIED WOMAN LEAVE TO RESUME HER MAIDEN NAME GOES INTO FULL EFFECT, OR WIDOWHOOD IS SUCCEEDED BY A NEW MARRIAGE AND ANOTHER HUSBAND, SHE GOES BY HER FORMER HUSBAND'S SURNAME. * * *

IN DISCUSSING THE SAME SUBJECT SCHOULER SAYS THIS IS THE LAW OF ENGLAND AND AMERICA AND IT WOULD APPEAR A WIFE CAN ONLY OBTAIN ANOTHER NAME BY SEPARATION. THE FOREGOING RULES OF LAW ARE SUSTAINED BY THE FOLLOWING AUTHORITIES:

CARROLL V. STATE, 53 NEBR. 431; RATCLIFFE V. MCDONALD, 123 VA. 97; UIHLEIN V. CLADEAUX, 74 OHIO, 232-247; FREEMAN V. HAWKINS, 77 TEXAS, 498; PETERSON V. LITTLE, 74 IOWA, 223; ANSLEY V. GREEN, 82 GA. 181; FENDALL V. GOLDSMID, 2 P.D. 263.

IN THE OHIO AND TEXAS CASES, SUPRA, THE COURTS EXPRESSLY HELD THAT "THE LAW CONFERS UPON A WIFE THE SURNAME OF HER HUSBAND UPON MARRIAGE.'

IT IS UNIVERSAL RULE OF PRACTICE IN THE COURTS OF THIS COUNTRY THAT ON GRANTING A DECREE OF DIVORCE, THE COURT MAY BY DECREE RESTORE THE MAIDEN NAME OF THE WIFE. THIS IS ALSO THE LAW OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SECTION 979 OF THE DISTRICT CODE READS AS FOLLOWS:

MAIDEN NAME OF WIFE RESTORED.--- IN GRANTING A DIVORCE FROM THE BOND OF MARRIAGE THE COURT MAY RESTORE TO THE WIFE HER MAIDEN OR OTHER PREVIOUS NAME.

IT IS APPARENT FORM THIS LANGUAGE THAT THE LAW PRESUMES THE NAME OF THE WOMAN IS CHANGED TO THAT OF THE HUSBAND ON CONTRACTING THE MARITAL RELATION, AND THE COURT HAS THE OPTION UNDER SECTION 979, ON GRANTING A DECREE OF DIVORCE, TO EITHER RESTORE THE MAIDEN NAME OR THE NAME OF A DECEASED HUSBAND. SHE MUST HAVE LOST HER MAIDEN NAME, OTHERWISE IT COULD NOT BE RESTORED.

IT IS TRUE OUR LAW HAS BEEN LIBERALIZED BY THE PASSAGE OF THE SO CALLED MARRIED WOMEN'S ACTS IN MOST OF THE STATES OF THE UNION, BUT THESE ACTS HAVE TO DO LARGELY WITH THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF THE WIFE. AT COMMON LAW THE HUSBAND NOT ONLY BECAME LIABLE FOR THE SUPPORT OF HIS WIFE BUT TOOK TITLE TO HER PROPERTY AS A SORT OF COMPENSATION FOR THE MARITAL RESPONSIBILITY. WHILE THE MARRIED WOMEN'S ACTS RECOGNIZED THE WIFE IN THE MARRIED STATE AS A FEMME SOLE, CAPABLE OF SUING AND BEING SUED, AND THESE ACTS IN SOME STATES GIVE HER THE RIGHT TO ALIENATE HER INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY WITHOUT BEING JOINED BY HER HUSBAND, YET THE OLD RULE OF MARITAL UNITY IS STILL PRESERVED. ALL LAW WRITERS AGREE THAT MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL CONTRACT, AND MOST LAW WRITERS AGREE THAT IT IS MORE THAN A MERE CONTRACT. SO FAR AS THE LEGAL STATUS OF MAN AND WIFE IS CONCERNED THEIR RELATION IS CONTRACTUAL, BUT MARRIAGE IS AN INSTITUTION CONTEMPLATING HOMES AND FAMILIES. EACH FAMILY IS A UNIT IN THE BODY POLITIC, AND IT CAN HARDLY BE IMAGINED OF HUSBANDS, WIVES, AND CHILDREN COMPOSING THE SAME FAMILY BEARING DIFFERENT NAMES. THE LAW IN THIS COUNTRY THAT THE WIFE TAKES THE SURNAME OF THE HUSBAND IS AS WELL SETTLED AS THAT THE DOMICILE OF THE WIFE MERGES IN THE DOMICILE OF THE HUSBAND. A WIFE MIGHT RESIDE APART FROM HER HUSBAND, BUT SO LONG AS SHE REMAINS HIS LAWFUL WIFE SHE HAS BUT ONE LEGAL DOMICILE, AND THAT IS THE DOMICILE OF THE HUSBAND. SO IT IS WITH THE NAME. SHE MAY HAVE AN ASSUMED NAME, BUT SHE HAS BUT ONE LEGAL NAME. THE SEPARATE LEGAL ENTITY OF THE WIFE IS NOT SO GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS TO ACCEPT THE MAIDEN NAME RATHER THAN THE SURNAME OF THE HUSBAND. IT IS TO- DAY THE MAIN DISTINCTION BETWEEN A SINGLE WOMAN AND A MARRIED WOMAN, AND SUCH FACT HAS IN THE PAST APPEARED UPON THE PAY ROLLS. THERE APPEARS NO VALID REASON WHY IT SHOULD NOT SO CONTINUE AND THE PAY ROLL SHOULD STATE THE FACT ACCORDINGLY.