Divorce and superannuation
For separated couples, the Family Law Act sets out how property should be divided.
A Common Family Law Myth
One of the most common Family Law myths is the belief that superannuation is not included in this division of property. It is! Another common myth is that property is always divided equally. It isn’t! Let’s clarify what the law does say.
Determining a Property Settlement
The process of determining a property settlement is quite complex and will have a different impact for everyone.
The court takes the following steps to work out how property will be divided:
- The court takes an inventory of all the assets and liabilities that existed at the time of separation;
- A current value is put on the assets;
- The court must also work out the financial and non-financial contributions both parties made during the relationship.
When deciding how the assets will be divided the court considers each parties,
- future needs;
- futures obligations;
- financial situations; and
- the cost of caring for any children from the relationship.
What Happens to Superannuation?
In property settlements under the Family Law Act, superannuation is defined as ‘property’.
The law regarding superannuation was changed in 2002. It provides detailed formulas for calculating superannuation in property settlements. These formulas need specialist advice. Ask your solicitor for help in these situations.
Superannuation funds can be split between spouses and rolled over as part of a property settlement. The splits are not compulsory, but if it is to be done, it can be done in any percentage, it does not have to be equal.
Time Limits Apply
It is important to be aware that time limits apply to how long you have to finalise a property settlement.
A married couple can make a property settlement at any time after separation but if an Application for property settlement to the court is to be made that must be filed within 12 months of a Final Divorce Order.
If an Application to the court for property settlement in a defacto relationship is to be made that must be filed in court within 2 years after the date the relationship ended.
Contact us for your own advice. Phone (07) 3221 4300 for a fixed-cost no obligation appointment with a family law expert. We can meet with you in person, by phone or by Skype.