Property Settlement – Superannuation Splitting
How do I find out the value of our superannuation?
There are several ways to find out the value of superannuation available in a property settlement including:
- by way of exchange of disclosure this will usually involve a party providing his or her most recent annual statement, and a statement showing a current balance of the relevant superannuation interest;
- by completing and submitting a Superannuation Information Form;
- for self-managed funds by reviewing current financial statements and obtaining valuations of assets in the fund.
- Superannuation is an asset in the pool for division.
- Superannuation can be split from one party to the other by way of a fixed amount (referred to as a base amount) or a percentage of one person’s interest in a superannuation fund.
- Procedural fairness must be given to the Trustee of the relevant superannuation fund if the parties seek a superannuation splitting order.
- The Court requires evidence of a superannuation interest before a splitting order is made.
- Beware of tax consequences if splitting an interest in a self-managed superannuation fund – expert tax advice is required.
Splitting superannuation interest
Usually, an interest in a defined benefit fund can be split, but not always.
For some funds, in order for a split to occur, the member’s spouse may be required to meet particular conditions of release and be granted permission to access the superannuation.
Non-member spouses should be aware in respect of some superannuation funds, the non-member spouse’s ability to access the defined benefit superannuation that is being split to them may be impacted by when the member spouse accesses his or her superannuation. Some funds however have changed their rules to allow an immediate split to the non-member spouse’s superannuation fund.
The Family Law Act requires that parties have a ‘clean break’ with respect to their financial arrangements. We recommend that parties separate their superannuation interests if they have a self-managed superannuation fund (i.e. that one party exit the fund) or alternatively that both parties exit the fund and it be wound up.
Process for splitting superannuation
The process for splitting superannuation is generally as follows:
- ascertain the value and type (e.g. accumulation, defined benefit or pension) of the parties’ superannuation interests;
- agree on the sum or percentage to be split to the other party;
- provide the fund with the proposed superannuation splitting orders and obtain their agreement;
- lodge your Application for Consent Orders and Consent Orders with the Court (or enter into Binding Financial Agreement) together with evidence of value of the superannuation interest; and
- once Orders are made (or the Binding Financial Agreement) serve a copy of the Orders/Agreement upon the fund together with the necessary accompanying documentation (this may vary from fund to fund).