The long-running divorce battle between Amit and Ankita Goyal has taken a new turn now. In a landmark decision by a high court in the UK, an Indian-origin banker has been ordered to pay his ex-wife from the pension funds he had transferred out of India.
The court order has come as a blow to the spouses who try to conceal their assets overseas. Justice Mostyn said in a ruling, which was published last month, "There are powerful reasons for making a supplementary periodical payments order in favour of the wife."
"This is a very small sum objectively, but it will be a meaningful sum for her as she attempts to rebuild her life and to support their child. It will end, of course, if she were to remarry, which she hopes to do," the judge added. Under this new order, the wife will receive new payments of around USD 6502 per annum, which add up to USD 125 per week.
However, a previous judgment of the Court of Appeal, in this case, had decided that pension sharing pursuant to Section 24B did not apply to foreign pensions.
"This is a landmark judgment in a financial remedy case which relates to a foreign pension which the husband had transferred out of the UK to India. The husband claimed he had transferred his pension annuity to a friend to satisfy a debt. The court disbelieved this claim and concluded that the story about the friend owning the annuity was a bare-faced lie," said Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors, the law firm which represents the wife.
Amit and Ankita Goyal married in 2004 and separated in 2011. The couple has a nine-year-old daughter together. In one of the previous orders in the case, a judge had ordered Amit, a 39-year-old banker to hand over his remaining assets to a 35-year-old ex-wife. However, they have been at loggerheads legally for years now, something that the judge expressed his regret about.
Last year, it emerged that Amit Goyal had worked at high-paying jobs at big banks in London but involved in spread betting losing his fortune and falling into heavy debt.
What law says?
The law in Britain says that a pension may be divided between divorcing spouses by of a pension sharing order pursuant to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.