We are one step closer to de-facto’s being able to split Superannuation.
West Australian de-facto’s are one step closer to sharing Superannuation when they separate after the Federal Government passed legislation that lays the ground work for the Sate Government to legalise a super split. WA is currently the only state where de-facto’s cannot share their super.
A super split for De-facto’s has in fact been impossible in WA up until now. Even though WA recognises de-facto’s as equal to legally married couples, superannuation has not been included. That means the family court cannot legally order a super fund to split the balance between separating de-facto’s.
The change in legislation allowing a super split for de-facto’s is especially important for women who often have lower superannuation balances. Women often bow out of the workforce for several years to raise kids and then go back part time meaning their super balances suffer. Being able to legally split super will help to rectify this imbalance meaning both people in a relationship will have some sort of safety net for their retirement.
Super splits are also becoming more significant for separating couples because of the sharp increase in house prices and the rise in 30 year mortgages. That rise in debt levels often means superannuation is the only liquid asset separating couples have access to. This has meant that de-facto’s who only have debt in their shared assets (for example the house) have had to walk away from a relationship with nothing to show.
It is important to remember however that a super split doesn’t mean you get the cash. Superannuation that is divided must be transferred into another approved super fund and is then subject to the usual rules.
So now that the Federal Government has cleared the way, the ball is in the State Governments court. With Christmas upon us and the State Government about to go to an election in early 2021 it is unlikely we will see change in the next six months. But the good news is that anyone in the process of separating will still be able to take advantage of this change so long as their separation is not finalised before the legislation passes.
Here is a link to the announcement by the Federal Attorney General Christian Porter if you would like more info.
For help with your separation or parenting issues call BrightSide
Susan Hewitt is the Principal at Bright Side Family Law, a non-litigious family law and mediation practice. Susan has worked as a lawyer and journalist for almost 30 years. She is an accredited collaborative lawyer and family-law mediator who is committed to helping families through their relationship breakdown in an honest, cooperative and respectful manner.
If you are facing a family law matter call or email Bright Side https://brightsidefamilylaw.com.au/contact-us/