B-158435 February 24, 1966

B-158435: Feb 24, 1966

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Hicks: Reference is made to your letter of February 14. Your inquiry was pormpted by the case of one of your constituents who appears to have married a Portuguese citizen after she had obtained a divorce in Mexico and the Navy has refused to recognize the validity of that marriage because of our decisions concerning Mexican divorces. Since your constituent is an enlisted member of the Navy. We have no jurisdiction to make any determination of the validity of his marriage. The responsibility to make such determination having been vested by law in the Secretary of the Navy and such determinations are final. We have jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage of officers of the military services for the purposes of payment of dependency benefits.

B-158435 February 24, 1966

The Honorable Floyd V. Hicks House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Hicks:

Reference is made to your letter of February 14, 1966, concerning the recognition of divorces obtained in Mexico in determining the right of military personnel to benefits on account of a wife. Your inquiry was pormpted by the case of one of your constituents who appears to have married a Portuguese citizen after she had obtained a divorce in Mexico and the Navy has refused to recognize the validity of that marriage because of our decisions concerning Mexican divorces.

In our letter of February 10 we advised you that, since your constituent is an enlisted member of the Navy, we have no jurisdiction to make any determination of the validity of his marriage, the responsibility to make such determination having been vested by law in the Secretary of the Navy and such determinations are final. However, we have jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage of officers of the military services for the purposes of payment of dependency benefits. We understand that the armed services concerned have used our decisions in officer cases as guides in making their determination of the validity of the marriage of their enlisted members.

In view of that practice, we are attempting to obtain from the Navy Department the facts in the case of your constituent in order to be able to give you a report concerning the principles that we would regard as relevant for consideration in this type of case.

Upon receipt of the information requested, we will furnish you a report as promptly as circumstances permit.

Sincerely yours,

Frank H. Wietzel Acting Comptroller General of the United States