pension-after-divorce

Pensions have a crucial impact on negotiations for financial settlements on divorce. Stock market volatility and the well-publicised underfunding of global pension schemes mean the value of a pension can change rapidly. Overseas pensions can add further complexity. All of this makes assessment of pensions for divorce settlements difficult.

Why Treat Foreign Pensions Differently

Like domestic funds, overseas pensions are often difficult to value accurately, and the attitude and procedures of third parties – pension providers and trustees – need to be taken into account. In addition the approach of courts in other jurisdictions also comes into play. Unlike homes and other overseas assets held by a divorcing couple, it is often not up to the individual to decide how to administer his or her pension.

Thankfully a recent High Court ruling has shed further light on the best way for couples to deal with offshore pensions when they divorce.

The Case Of Goyal v Goyal

Goyal v Goyal is a long-running divorce case. The couple separated in 2011. Since then there have been at least 65 separate decisions on issues ranging from the validity of the divorce to child arrangements and finances.

In the most recent ruling, Mr Justice Mostyn remarked that the case before him “has been going on for too long and so far as I can tell there is virtually no money left.”

The full judgment is available here.

This ruling revolved around an Indian pension fund solely owned by Mr Goyal. His lawyers argued that English Courts did not have the power to make pension sharing orders or pension attachments in respect of a foreign pension.

After considering the background to the relevant legislation Mostyn J found in favour of the husband.

The judge noted that the applicable rules were the result of close collaboration between English government officials, family law professionals and the representatives of the domestic pensions industry. Further, when he looked at the procedure set out for pension splitting it was his clear opinion that in practice the procedure could only work in the context of a domestic pension. As a result the court was powerless to split the foreign pension as the wife had claimed.

What Is The Alternative To Pension Splitting?

But of course the issue of foreign pensions will still arise. What should couples attempting to agree a financial settlement do?

Mostyn J pointed out that he had previously approved a consent order that effectively achieved the desired goal of pension splitting. That order included an agreement, backed by undertakings, to obtain an order in the US to split an American pension. He did not see why this technique could not be used for other overseas pensions.

When agreeing such an order, couples should always be alert to how it will be viewed overseas. It would seem sensible to obtain some kind of confirmation from the foreign pension provider that it wouldn’t frustrate what has been agreed. But in the light of the clear decision against splitting foreign pensions by English courts, the consent order route provides a workable alternative.

In cases like this the advice of an experienced international divorce solicitor is always recommended. Find out how we can help. Call us on + 44 (0)20 7430 8470 or contact us online.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Really appreciated Brookman's advice and support. Most lawyers charge extortionate fees just for an initial conversation but not Henry. Thanks for all your advice and time.

Jul 2022   Chloé

I had a consultation with the partner Henry Brookman. I can absolutely recommend him, he seemed knowledgeable, up to date and patient. I have found him to be straightforward in the answers he gives and down to earth. 100% recommended.

Jun 2022   Michael P

I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Henry Brookman. His advice came in promptly when solicited, and was excellent. He is a thoughtful and very professional lawyer. He understood perfectly well the issue I presented him with, and gave me excellent advice in a family law related matter.

May 2022   Philip Hands

From my first contact with the firm I was treated courteously and promptly. I was offered a pro bono meeting shortly after making contact. Mr Brookman is clearly a very experienced professional and in our meeting he gave me some well considered and objective advice about my rather complicated situation which spans more than one jurisdiction.

May 2022   Julian Peachey

I had an initial consultation with Henry Brookman regarding prenuptial agreements and found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable.

Mar 2022   Simon Brooks

I had a free telephone consultation yesterday with Gavin Yeung. He could not have been more helpful and reassuring as he calmly and patiently worked through my situation to provide me with clarity and piece of mind at a time it was really needed and emotions are running high.

Mar 2022   'K M'

I spoke with Aziz at Brookman Solicitors on the phone for an initial consultation and he is one of the friendliest lawyers I have met. He is clearly very experienced as he patiently explained me all the concepts and processes which are quite daunting for someone in my situation, and then focused on the actual questions I wanted to ask... I would highly recommend Aziz and Brookman Solicitors.

Feb 2022   'R'

I am grateful for Henry Brookman and his team for support they provided to me during very frustrating time of divorce. They respond promptly to any request. I felt more confident after I started the process with them. Henry listened carefully to me and took quick actions on my case. I highly recommend this team of real professionals even for non-UK citizens.

Feb 2022   Sezim Beksultanova

I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Henry took the time to go through all the details of my separation thoroughly. He was very clear on what my options were and what I needed to do to have a seamless agreement with my ex. Thank you for all your help!

Aug 2021   Sandeep Cina

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470