Can foreign pensions be shared on divorce?

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Can foreign pensions be shared on divorce?
The recent case of Ankita Goyal v Amit Goyal [2016] has confirmed that it is not possible to share an overseas pension following on from a divorce in the UK.

When a couple divorce there are a range of orders available to the court to sort out their finances. The court can make orders in relation to income, capital, properties and pensions.

In this case, Mr Goyal had an Indian pension fund. Mrs Goyal sought a share of the pension pursuant to a pension sharing order. She and her legal team had, though, produced no evidence of Indian law to show that she could enforce such an order in the Indian courts if need be. The court found that it had no powers to make a pension sharing order over this foreign pension. The court did say, however, a couple could agree that a foreign pension be shared and this could be recorded in undertakings, i.e. promises the parties make to the court.

Recently we have had a client whose husband had an American pension. This was a significant asset in the case. We dealt with it by way of undertakings recording the parties' agreement about how it should be divided. We also sought input from a pension's expert who reported back to both parties and their solicitors in a meeting.

This case reminds us that it is always worth considering where there are foreign assets involving experts and/or family lawyers in the foreign country concerned. This is to ensure all the relevant information is obtained before deciding on what the appropriate settlement should be.

For more information pensions on during divorce, please contact the Blake Morgan family law team.