The short answer to this question is yes, a person’s superannuation can be split when that person is dividing their assets with a former partner, indeed, many couples prefer to use one party’s superannuation when splitting joint assets.
How Does Superannuation Splitting Work?
In the event a couple have decided to end their marriage (or de-facto relationship) and they would like to use one party’s superannuation in the division of joint assets, they would need to sit down and come to an agreement. One must remember that the superannuation can be divided in combination with real estate or personal possessions – If, for example, one party requires a small amount on top of the agreed assets, a percentage of the other person’s superannuation can make up that difference. Family lawyers process superannuation consent orders for a fixed price which allows you to budget accordingly.
When Can Superannuation Split Funds Be Accessed?
The law states that a person must have reached retirement age before they can access their share of their ex-partner’s superannuation, although there are a few exceptions, such as severe financial hardship or death. What happens is the funds are transferred to a nominated bank account, where they remain until the recipient reaches retirement age. It is worth noting that one cannot receive a superannuation split in cash form, unless the recipient has already reached retirement age.
Legally Binding Agreement
The first step of superannuation splitting is to sit down with your ex-partner and come to an agreement over the terms of the split in superannuation, then the family lawyer would draft the document for both parties to approve, and once this is done, the consent order application can be filed in the family court. The splitting of the superannuation could be agreed on as a specific amount, or it could be a percentage of the superannuation, depending on both parties.
Knowing the Value of your Superannuation
Before any agreements can be made, you do need to find out the value of your superannuation, and this can usually be done online, but if not, there is a procedure, which a family lawyer can explain and help you to discover the value of your superannuation.
Obtaining Approval & Consent from the Trustee
In order to process a superannuation split, the Trustee of the superannuation fund must approve and consent to the split, and they would sign documentation that satisfies the family court that the Trustee consents to the order.