B-118554, MAR 22, 1954

B-118554: Mar 22, 1954

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YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE AIRMAN MARRIED RUTH NAOMI MULLIS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA ON AUGUST 5. IT APPEARS THAT THE TWO PARTIES ARE LIVING. THERE WERE SUBMITTED WITH THE VOUCHER CERTIFIED COPIES OF THE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES TO SUBSTANTIATE THE MARRIAGE OF GREENE TO THE TWO PARTIES ON THE ABOVE MENTIONED DATES RESPECTIVELY. THERE IS NO CLEAR EVIDENCE OF A DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT OF THE FIRST MARRIAGE AND THE ONLY REFERENCE THERETO IS CONTAINED IN A STATEMENT FROM THE MOTHER OF GREENE DATED AUGUST 7. IT APPEARS THAT THREE CHILDREN WERE BORN OF SUCH MARRIAGE AND THAT THE LATE ENLISTED MAN AND VIRGINIA WERE LIVING TOGETHER AS MAN AND WIFE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

B-118554, MAR 22, 1954

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

COLONEL CLYDE W. O'HARN, U.S.A.R.:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY REFERENCE FROM THE OFFICE, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 10, 1953, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MRS. RUTH MULLIS GREENE FOR $1,238.34, REPRESENTING SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PAY IN THE CASE OF T/SGT. LEONARD GREENE, AF 19,317,201, WHO DIED MARCH 8, 1953. YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE AIRMAN MARRIED RUTH NAOMI MULLIS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA ON AUGUST 5, 1942 AND SUBSEQUENTLY MARRIED VIRGINIA ROBINSON IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON ON DECEMBER 21, 1946, AND IT APPEARS THAT THE TWO PARTIES ARE LIVING.

THERE WERE SUBMITTED WITH THE VOUCHER CERTIFIED COPIES OF THE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES TO SUBSTANTIATE THE MARRIAGE OF GREENE TO THE TWO PARTIES ON THE ABOVE MENTIONED DATES RESPECTIVELY. THERE IS NO CLEAR EVIDENCE OF A DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT OF THE FIRST MARRIAGE AND THE ONLY REFERENCE THERETO IS CONTAINED IN A STATEMENT FROM THE MOTHER OF GREENE DATED AUGUST 7, 1953, TO THE EFFECT THAT WHEN THE FIRST WIFE, RUTH, INDICATED SHE HAD GOTTEN A DIVORCE, HER SON LEONARD WROTE TO HER TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER SHE HAD OBTAINED A DIVORCE BUT FAILED TO GET ANY REPLY FROM HER AND THE MOTHER STATED THAT "SO, LEONARD, MARRIED VIRGINIA IN GOOD FAITH THINKING HE HAD A PERFECT RIGHT TO ***." IT APPEARS THAT THREE CHILDREN WERE BORN OF SUCH MARRIAGE AND THAT THE LATE ENLISTED MAN AND VIRGINIA WERE LIVING TOGETHER AS MAN AND WIFE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

IT IS GENERALLY HELD THAT IN THE CASE OF CONFLICTING MARRIAGES OF THE SAME PERSON, THE PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY OPERATES IN FAVOR OF THE SECOND MARRIAGE. SEE 55 C.J.S. MARRIAGE 43C(3). THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE DECEDENT ON FEBRUARY 13, 1950, DESIGNATED AS HIS FIRST BENEFICIARY, MRS. VIRGINIA RUTH GREENE, THE WIDOW BY THE SECOND MARRIAGE.

IN THIS CASE THERE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED ANY CONCLUSIVE OR CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE FIRST MARRIAGE WAS OR WAS NOT DISSOLVED BY DIVORCE; NENCE PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE TO EITHER PARTY IN THE ABSENCE OF A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DECREE BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION AS TO WHO IS THE LEGAL WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT. CF. 16 COMP. GEN. 798.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE.