09 Jun Leave my superannuation alone!
It is a well-known principle that, in most circumstances, we are unable to access our superannuation entitlements until we have reached retirement age.
Unfortunately, this position is not sufficient to protect superannuation interests during a property settlement.
In many families, the super entitlements of one partner are generally significantly more than the other often due to one partner being the stay at home parent. In these cases, it is likely that the Court will order a “Super Split” to the partner who stayed at home to care for the children as they were not afforded the same opportunity to accrue their own superannuation throughout the relationship.
Under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the superannuation interests of each party forms part of the marital pool which is to be divided. The legislation also guides parties as to how superannuation interests are valued and, if judged fair and equitable in the circumstances, how the superannuation is split. After splitting the superannuation is rolled over into another account. It will then remain superannuation until such time as the party retires.
Briefly, superannuation interests may be valued in the following ways:
- The most common form of superannuation interests are “accumulation” interests which are dependent upon the contributions made by your employer, voluntary contributions and any interest earned through investments. These interests are usually easily valued by way of a recent statement.
- Self-managed super funds are generally valued by an expert such as an accountant.
- Defined Benefit Schemes are generally valued by way of a forensic valuation.
You should seek legal advice with regard to your entitlements and whether a superannuation split is appropriate in your circumstances. One of our Family Law Solicitors will be able to assist you with this and can be contacted on 02 4929 2225.