NATHANIEL R. JONES, Circuit Judge.
Beverly Huff appeals the grant of Elizabeth Huff's motion for summary judgment and the denial of Beverly's
Affidavit and documentary evidence considered in the summary judgment proceeding established several facts. Beverly had been married to Carlos Huff. The marriage terminated by divorce proceedings heard April 3, 1978, and a divorce decree journalized May 5, 1978. On May 16, 1978, Carlos married Elizabeth, and on October 8, 1979, Carlos met his death.
At all relevant times, Carlos' life was insured by virtue of his employment with the federal government. He designated no beneficiary.
According to Beverly's affidavit, Carlos stated at the time the policy on his life was issued, that he intended the proceeds to be used for the college education of Carlos' and Beverly's son. The affidavit also alleged that Carlos separated from Elizabeth and moved back in with Beverly in August 1978.
The district court found that no genuine issue of material fact was raised as to Elizabeth's status as Carlos' wife at the time of his death and as his widow thereafter, or as to whether Carlos designated a beneficiary.
Within ten days, Beverly moved for reconsideration of the summary judgment order. She swore an affidavit stating, inter alia, that Carlos and she never separated and held themselves out to the community as man and wife both before and after the April 3, 1978 divorce proceeding.
The district court denied the motion. We affirm that result and the underlying judgment.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Manning, supra, held that, by amendments to FEGLI passed in 1966, Congress intended
Finding no factual dispute as to the identity of Carlos' widow, the district court properly granted Elizabeth's motion for summary judgment.
The district court correctly treated the motion to reconsider as a motion under Rule 59 to alter or amend judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); Smith v. Hudson, 600 F.2d 60 (6th Cir.), cert. dismissed, 444 U.S. 986, 100 S.Ct. 495, 62 L.Ed.2d 415 (1979); see Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 181, 83 S.Ct. 227, 229, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962). Rule 59(e) may be utilized in timely attempts to vacate judgment. Foman v. Davis, supra; Smith v. Hudson, supra; see 6A J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 59.12 at 250-51 (1979) and Supp. at 240 (1981-82); 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil § 2817 at 111 & n.31 (1971). The grant or denial of a Rule 59(e) motion is within the informed discretion of the district court, reversible only for abuse. United States Labor Party v. Oremus, 619 F.2d 683, 692 (7th Cir. 1980); see Hopkins v. Coen, 431 F.2d 1055, 1059 (6th Cir. 1970); Milwee v. Peachtree Cypress Investment Co., 510 F.Supp. 284, 289-90 (E.D.Tenn.1978); see generally 6A J. Moore, supra ¶ 59.15.
The district court's denial of the motion appeared to rest upon alternative theories, the first concerning the federal court's role in determining state law domestic relations matters and the second evaluating the newness and inherent reliability of assertions in Beverly's affidavit. We reject the rationale that the district court could not determine domestic relations issues when they arise in the context of a question properly within the jurisdiction of the federal courts. See, e.g., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Manning, supra, 568 F.2d at 26 (state law provides rule of decision for marital status); United States v. Goble, 512 F.2d 458, 474-75 (6th Cir.), cert. denied sub nom. Shad v. United States, 423 U.S. 914, 96 S.Ct. 220, 46 L.Ed.2d 143 (1975) (Ohio law applied to determine common law marriage).
Finding no fundamental error of fact or law in the district court's determination of the summary judgment motion, and no error in its determination that evidence contained in Beverly's affidavit accompanying the Rule 59 motion was not newly discovered, we hold the denial of Beverly's motion to be within the discretion of the district court.
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court in favor of Elizabeth Huff is hereby AFFIRMED.
5 U.S.C. § 8705(a).
5 U.S.C. § 8705(a).
The decedent in Sears had manifested his intent by means of a holographic will. The rejection of the intent theory here, insofar as it is not specifically covered by the terms of the 1966 amendment, is supported by a fortiori reasoning. If a writing is insufficient to change the beneficiary, it follows that an oral statement will not suffice.
568 F.2d at 926, quoting S.Rep.No.1064, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 2, reprinted in  U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 2070, 2071.