B-173414, JUL 30, 1971

B-173414: Jul 30, 1971

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SINCE BEATRICE PERKINS IS NOT. SETTLEMENT IN FAVOR OF CHILDREN OF DECEASED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5582 IS SUSTAINED. BEATRICE PERKINS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED JUNE 7 AND JUNE 10. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT AN INTERLOCUTORY JUDGMENT WAS ENTERED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ON SEPTEMBER 17. ADJUDGING THAT ARTHELLA PERKINS WAS ENTITLED TO A DIVORCE FROM HERBERT PERKINS AND THAT FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE WAS ENTERED AUGUST 2. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM YOU FURNISHED A COPY OF A CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE SHOWING THAT YOUR MARRIAGE TO HERBERT PERKINS WAS SOLEMNIZED IN SALINE COUNTY. CLAIM WAS ALSO PRESENTED BY ETHEL LEE PERKINS AND JAMES EDWARD PERKINS.

B-173414, JUL 30, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - DISTRIBUTION OF UNPAID COMPENSATION OF DECEASED EMPLOYEES DECISION DENYING CLAIM OF MRS. BEATRICE PERKINS FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE MR. HERBERT PERKINS AT DATE OF HIS DEATH AS FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA. SINCE BEATRICE PERKINS IS NOT, UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW, THE LAWFUL WIDOW OF DECEASED EMPLOYEE BECAUSE HER MARRIAGE TO HIM TOOK PLACE PRIOR TO THE ENTRY OF A FINAL DECREE OF DIVORCE BETWEEN HERBERT PERKINS AND HIS PREVIOUS WIFE, NO BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM EXISTS. SETTLEMENT IN FAVOR OF CHILDREN OF DECEASED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5582 IS SUSTAINED.

TO MRS. BEATRICE PERKINS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED JUNE 7 AND JUNE 10, 1971, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED MAY 28, 1971, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM AS WIDOW OF HERBERT PERKINS, DECEASED, FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE HIM AT DATE OF DEATH AS A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT AN INTERLOCUTORY JUDGMENT WAS ENTERED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1965, ADJUDGING THAT ARTHELLA PERKINS WAS ENTITLED TO A DIVORCE FROM HERBERT PERKINS AND THAT FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE WAS ENTERED AUGUST 2, 1966. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM YOU FURNISHED A COPY OF A CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE SHOWING THAT YOUR MARRIAGE TO HERBERT PERKINS WAS SOLEMNIZED IN SALINE COUNTY, ARKANSAS, ON MAY 18, 1966. CLAIM WAS ALSO PRESENTED BY ETHEL LEE PERKINS AND JAMES EDWARD PERKINS, DAUGHTER AND SON, RESPECTIVELY.

AS WAS POINTED OUT IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 28, 1971, UNPAID COMPENSATION OF DECEASED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5582 WHICH PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"(B) IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED EMPLOYEES, MONEY DUE AN EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AT THE DATE OF DEATH, IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRECEDENCE, AND THE PAYMENT BARS RECOVERY BY ANOTHER PERSON OF AMOUNTS SO PAID:

"FIRST, TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN A WRITING RECEIVED IN THE EMPLOYING AGENCY BEFORE HIS DEATH.

"SECOND, IF THERE IS NO DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY, TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER OF THE EMPLOYEE.

"THIRD, IF NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE EMPLOYEE AND DESCENDANTS OF DECEASED CHILDREN BY REPRESENTATION. *** "

SINCE THE DECEDENT DID NOT DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY AND SINCE YOU MARRIED HIM PRIOR TO FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE FROM HIS FORMER WIFE, ARTHELLA PERKINS, YOUR CLAIM AS WIDOW WAS DISALLOWED. SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN MADE IN FAVOR OF THE CHILDREN.

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT UNDER THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THE LEGAL RELATIONSHIP OF HUSBAND AND WIFE IS NOT TERMINATED BY AN INTERLOCUTORY JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE BUT ONLY THAT AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE STATUTORY PERIOD OF WAITING THE PARTIES ARE ENTITLED TO A FINAL JUDGMENT DISSOLVING THE MARRIAGE. THUS, YOUR CEREMONIAL MARRIAGE TO HERBERT PERKINS WAS NULL AND VOID BECAUSE HIS VALID AND SUBSISTING MARRIAGE TO ARTHELLA HAD NOT BEEN TERMINATED ON MAY 18, 1966. THERE HAS BEEN FURNISHED NO EVIDENCE THAT YOUR MARRIAGE WAS VALIDATED AFTER THE REMOVAL OF THE IMPEDIMENT OF YOUR INVALID MARRIAGE BY THE FILING OF FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE ON AUGUST 2, 1966, AND YOUR MARRIAGE WAS NOT VALIDATED BY YOUR HAVING LIVED WITH HERBERT PERKINS AS MAN AND WIFE, SINCE UNDER THE LAW OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ONLY COMMON-LAW MARRIAGES CONSUMMATED PRIOR TO 1895 ARE VALID. SINCE YOU ARE NOT THE LAWFUL WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 28, 1971, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.

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