discretion over whose wages will be attached and whose will not be.
Although we have been pointed to no case or statutory authority that ratifies the arrangement worked out between Judge Buckingham and Domestic Relations, we believe that the procedures are legitimate and that the orders "signed" by Judge Buckingham are constitutionally and procedurally valid. It is within Judge Buckingham's power as a judge to direct the Office to perform certain ministerial tasks, as long as those tasks are truly ministerial, and as long as there is explicit direction to the Office concerning their duties and the parameters of their authority. We hold that both of these conditions are present in this case. We therefore also hold that the attachment order is a valid court order.
B. Procedural Due Process.
In addition to attacking the validity of the attachment order itself, Varner alleges that he has not been afforded the process that is due him under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Varner complains that his lack of prior notice and prior opportunity for a hearing render the attachment procedures, and hence the attachment itself, unconstitutional.
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that due process is a flexible requirement, and that the contours of due process in a given situation depend on (1) "the private interest that will be affected by the official action", (2) "the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used," (3) "the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards," and (4) "the Government's interest, including the function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirement would entail." Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 334-335, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18, 96 S. Ct. 893 (1976).
The leading authority in this circuit on the due process requirements in an attachment or garnishment proceeding is Finberg v. Sullivan, 634 F.2d 50 (3d Cir. 1980). In that case, plaintiff's bank accounts containing only the proceeds from her social security retirement benefits check were attached to satisfy a default judgment. The money in these accounts was entirely exempt from attachment and garnishment by virtue of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 407 (1976). The court in Finberg held that the Pennsylvania post-judgment garnishment procedures did not provide the due process of law required by the Fourteenth Amendment. The procedures afforded neither a prompt postseizure hearing at which plaintiff could assert exemptions, nor notice that exemptions may apply. Both of these elements were required by the circumstances of the case, the court ruled.
Although the Finberg court held that due process requires a prompt postseizure hearing (less than fifteen days after the seizure) and notice of possible exemptions in a post-judgment garnishment situation, we do not believe that these requirements automatically apply to attachment of wages to satisfy support orders. The Finberg court relied heavily on the provisional nature of the post-judgment garnishment and on the availability of a wide range of exemptions:
Sterling's judgment represents only an adjudication of Mrs. Finberg's liability on a monetary debt, not a transfer to Sterling of title to any particular item of her property . . . . A debtor might still defeat that right with any of a number of defenses not adjudicated in the action on the merits, such as in the present case with a claim of exemption. Thus, the attachment remains a provisional measure, and the debtor retains a protectable interest in the use of her property during the pendency of the creditor's action.