B-154521, AUGUST 14, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 86

B-154521: Aug 14, 1964

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PAY - RETIRED - AWARD IN DIVORCE ACTION A COURT ORDER ISSUED AT THE TIME OF THE DIVORCE OF AN ARMY OFFICER AND HIS WIFE DIRECTING THAT A PORTION OF HIS RETIREMENT OR PENSION RIGHTS ACCRUING FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT BE FORWARDED EACH MONTH TO THE WIFE IS NOT BINDING ON THE UNITED STATES IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE SUIT. CH. 61 IS NOT SUBJECT TO ATTACHMENT OR GARNISHMENT PROCEEDINGS ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE FORMER WIFE IN THE DIVORCE ACTION. THE RECORD NOT ESTABLISHING THE UNITED STATES IS INDEBTED TO THE FORMER WIFE OF THE OFFICER AS A RESULT OF THE COURT ACTION. 1964: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8. IT APPEARS THAT THE OFFICER WAS GRANTED AN ABSOLUTE DECREE OF DIVORCE FROM MRS.

B-154521, AUGUST 14, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 86

PAY - RETIRED - AWARD IN DIVORCE ACTION A COURT ORDER ISSUED AT THE TIME OF THE DIVORCE OF AN ARMY OFFICER AND HIS WIFE DIRECTING THAT A PORTION OF HIS RETIREMENT OR PENSION RIGHTS ACCRUING FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT BE FORWARDED EACH MONTH TO THE WIFE IS NOT BINDING ON THE UNITED STATES IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE SUIT, AND THE RETIRED PAY DETERMINED TO BE DUE THE OFFICER FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 19 U.S.C. CH. 61 IS NOT SUBJECT TO ATTACHMENT OR GARNISHMENT PROCEEDINGS ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE FORMER WIFE IN THE DIVORCE ACTION, NOR DO ARMY REGULATIONS PERMIT AN ALLOTMENT OF RETIRED PAY FOR ALIMONY PURPOSES, AND THE RECORD NOT ESTABLISHING THE UNITED STATES IS INDEBTED TO THE FORMER WIFE OF THE OFFICER AS A RESULT OF THE COURT ACTION, THE RETIRED PAY DUE HIM MAY NOT BE PAID DIRECTLY TO HER.

TO BELL, MCNEIL AND BOWLES, AUGUST 14, 1964:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1964, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF MRS. RUTH IOLA HOFFMAN, THE FORMER WIFE OF MAJOR FRANKLIN A. HOFFMAN, FOR A PORTION OF THE RETIRED PAY DUE HER FORMER HUSBAND AS A RETIRED OFFICER, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.

IT APPEARS THAT THE OFFICER WAS GRANTED AN ABSOLUTE DECREE OF DIVORCE FROM MRS. HOFFMAN BY THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON FOR KING COUNTY ON MARCH 7, 1963. IN THE DISPOSITION OF THE PROPERTY BETWEEN MR. AND MRS. HOFFMAN, THE COURT AWARDED MRS. HOFFMAN AMONG OTHER THINGS THE FOLLOWING:

THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE DIRECTLY OUT OF THE PLAINTIFF'S RETIREMENT OR PENSION RIGHTS ACCRUING FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT THE SUM OF $150.00 EACH MONTH FOR HER SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE, BEGINNING WITH THE MONTH OF MARCH 1963, AND MONTHLY THEREAFTER. THE SAID SUM OF $150.00 PER MONTH TO BE ALLOTTED TO DEFENDANT BY PLAINTIFF AND REMITTED DIRECT TO RUTH IOLA HOFFMAN BY THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH ITS AGENCY DISBURSING SUCH RETIREMENT INCOME. THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO SAID SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE TO DISCONTINUE AND CEASE UPON THE DEATH OF EITHER PARTY.

IN YOUR LETTER IT IS STATED THAT YOU HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL RIGHTS IN THE CIVIL COURTS ON BEHALF OF MRS. HOFFMAN TO COLLECT THE MONEY GRANTED TO HER IN THE JUDGMENT. ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT THE ARMY HAS REFUSED AT ALL TIMES TO FORWARD THE $150 PER MONTH TO MRS. HOFFMAN AND HAS REMITTED SUCH PAYMENTS DIRECTLY TO MAJOR HOFFMAN. YOU REQUEST THAT WE GIVE THIS MATTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TO MAKE THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION TO MRS. HOFFMAN AS ORDERED BY THE COURT.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE SUIT, THE PORTION OF THE COURT'S ORDER PURPORTING TO DIRECT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTION REGARDING THE RETIRED PAY DETERMINED TO BE DUE MAJOR HOFFMAN IS NOT BINDING ON THE UNITED STATES. THE RETIRED PAY DETERMINED TO BE DUE MR. HOFFMAN FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF CH. 61, TITLE 10 OF THE U.S.C. IS NOT SUBJECT TO ATTACHMENT OR GARNISHMENT PROCEEDINGS ISSUED IN BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANT IN THE DIVORCE ACTION. THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PERTAINING TO RETIRED PAY DO NOT PERMIT AN ALLOTMENT OF RETIRED PAY FOR THIS PURPOSE. ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE THE RECORD DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT THE UNITED STATES IS INDEBTED TO MRS. HOFFMAN AS A RESULT OF THE COURT ACTION WE MAY NOT COMPLY WITH YOUR REQUEST. COMPARE, GENERALLY, THE CASE OF TAGGART V. UNITED STATES, 17 CT.CL. 322 (1881).