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Sharing foreign pension funds

After the house (and sometimes even including the house) pension funds are often the second largest financial assets to be considered in divorce proceedings yet they remain something of a mystery to many people and even to some divorce lawyers. Even judges have been known to be more woolly on pension issues than in relation to more obviously "concrete" financial assets.


It has been thought by many that because UK pension sharing legislation is phrased as it is that the courts are unable to make orders relating to foreign funds.


The case of Goyal 2016 in which the Court of Appeal overruled the initial decision has clarified that there is no territorial limit on the making of a pension sharing order. This is an important decision in a world in which it is increasingly common to have overseas assets of all sorts. There may well be difficulty in clarifying the terms of a policy or in confirming the enforceability of an English order abroad for which further evidence may be required but there is clear authority that pension sharing orders can be made in relation to overseas pension funds.


This is not saying that the power will be exercised routinely but in appropriate cases the option clearly exists. This is definitely not a DIY area so it is well worth taking proper advice if foreign pension funds are part of your investment portfolio.


Ian Stirzaker


Ian is the Senior Partner and Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors. Please contact him or Joanna Gardner for specialist help and advice in all aspects of family law at or


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Added: 06 Dec 2016 09:44

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