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Divorcing a person with overseas pensions

Divorcing a person with overseas pensions is a situation that may need careful handling according to Cheshire family law solicitors Stonehewer Moss. The pension laws in England & Wales are derived from statute, called the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Sine the millennium the court has been able to share a pension owned by one spouse with the non owning spouse, often with a view to achieving equality of pension rights. in December 2016 the Appeal Courts have clarified that the statute and family procedure rules do not apply to pensions held overseas. Michael Brennan, an accredited solicitor at the Northwich firm, comments, “The case of Goyal v Goyal 2016 deals with an Indian pension but it will apply to any overseas fund; it may be common for a spouse to work overseas during the marriage and the spouse in divorce will either need to prove the overseas court will enforce an English order, by obtaining legal advice in writing from that jurisdiction, or record an agreement in the order here that is to the effect the overseas pension should be shared and an order obtained to that effect overseas, backed by undertakings that can be enforced by contempt of court proceedings if not kept. Another alternative is to issue overseas rather than here if advisable and possible, or seek maintenance orders here, tailored to likely dates of receipt of pensions.”

Pensions in divorce are underused. Statistically only 11% of divorce orders include a pension share despite it often being at least as valuable as the family home. There is no legal reason for this and Michael will be happy to explain the process for obtaining a pension share order. In his experience, spouses often take a possessive view of pensions out of proportion to the reality of family life and the non owning spouse can unfairly be made to feel that they have no moral entitlement to a share of the pension. Divorcing a person with overseas pensions need not be a problem.

For advice negotiation and representation in divorce please call 01606872200 e mail or visit


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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

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