A claimant is the wife, husband, widow or widower of a NH if he or she would be found
to be validly married to the NH by the courts of the State in which the NH was domiciled
at the time the claimant files for benefits or at the time of NH’s death.
If the NH was not domiciled in a State, the claimant is the wife, husband, widow or
widower of the NH if the courts of the District of Columbia would find that the claimant
and the NH were validly married at the prescribed time (as shown above).
In determining the validity of a foreign marriage, the D.C. courts determine whether
the marriage was valid under the law of the place where the marriage was entered into.
However, a marriage that is valid under the law of the place where it was entered
into may not be recognized by the D.C. courts if it violates D.C. law or public policy
(e.g., it is polygamous, incestuous, or otherwise declared void by statute).
NOTE: The definition of State includes the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the U.S.
Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico (effective January 1, 1951), Guam, American Samoa and
the Northern Mariana Islands (effective January 1, 1987).