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How is superannuation treated in family law?

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

When initiating a family law property matter, you may wonder whether your superannuation entitlements come under the definition of “property” in the Family Law Act, and whether it can be divided in the same way as other property.

The answer: Superannuation is treated as property under the Family Law Act.

This means that superannuation can be adjusted, transferred, or divided between parties in much the same way as other property in your matter. However, there are a few key differences when dealing with superannuation, as this asset is held in a trust. Superannuation is also subject to various superannuation laws that may be different depending on which fund you use. For example, most super is only accessible after retirement age.

Superannuation “splitting” refers to the ways which superannuation can be divided when a relationship breaks down. Your super can be split either by a court order (in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia) or a superannuation agreement (this is a less common option).

Superannuation splitting begins with a valuation of each party’s super. It is important to realise that superannuation interests must be disclosed in family law proceedings. If you have concerns that you are not being given correct or up to date information/valuation about a party’s super, you can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to request your former partner’s superannuation information.

Once court orders are sought about superannuation, the superannuation fund trustee must be notified about the orders you seek.

Remember, the court will always retain its discretion in determining whether a division of the parties’ superannuation interests is just and equitable.

Have a question about Superannuation Splitting or need help to initiate your Family Law Matter? Reach out to our Family Lawyers Katie and Dominique on (02) 6742 2122 today.

Gunnedah & Newcastle in office, and visits are available in Muswellbrook, Singleton, Scone, Murrurundi, and Tamworth.


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