Marital Status of Former Service Member

B-204367: Apr 6, 1982

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GAO was asked to determine whether the Mexican divorce obtained by a service member from his first wife should be recognized so his subsequent marriage may be recognized for the purposes of entitlement to a Survivor Benefit Plan annuity, or whether the claim of the first wife for the annuity should be honored. The deceased had obtained a divorce in Mexico from his first wife. Later, he remarried. GAO held that, in the absence of a determination of the validity of a foreign divorce by a court of competent jurisdiction, the marital status of the deceased service member was too uncertain to determine the proper recipient of the member's Survivor Benefit Plan annuity. Accordingly, the claims were not allowed.