From 1 April 2022, parties to family law proceedings will be able to obtain their ex-partner’s superannuation details directly from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The idea behind this change is to reduce the costs, delay and the “hit and miss” nature of using subpoenas to obtain this information, in circumstances where the ex-partner did not provide (or was suspected of not providing) full financial disclosure.
Finding a former partner’s superannuation savings often used to involve a bit of guess-work, especially if they changed employers a number of times during the course of the relationship. It may not be the case that all superannuation interests were captured.
Superannuation is a splittable asset and is therefore included in the asset pool. Superannuation that is split is not paid in cash and retains its preserved fund’s character unless and until the recipient reaches a condition of release (e.g. retirement age or total and permanent disability). It is however open to the parties to agree to adjust other assets in the pool to account for a disparity in retirement savings. This may not always be the more attractive option but it is important to remember that it is an option.
It is hoped that greater transparency will be a positive step towards reducing the costs and delay that have previously been associated with the identification, valuation and splitting of superannuation interests.
It is also hoped that these changes will help to bridge the gender gap that currently exists in relation to superannuation savings. That gap has been seen to widen from the mid 30’s onwards.
Our team at Schetzer Papaleo Family Lawyers can assist you with navigating the process, to ensure you get your ‘fair share’.