One of the biggest fallouts that occurs at the end of a marriage, or a de facto relationship is the dividing of finances. While the sharing of properties and assets is expected, an often-overlooked stage of the process is superannuation splitting. According to the Family Law Act 1975 superannuation is categorised under property, but because it cannot be accessed at any time it is treated differently.
Our Barton Family Law superannuation split experts are here to guide you through every stage of the super splitting process, from informing you of the finer details of the proceedings through to advising you of the steps needed to complete the arrangement. We pride ourselves on providing the best service in the industry to our clients when it comes to superannuation splitting and are committed to ensuring the process is over as cost effectively and quickly as possible.
What Exactly is Super Splitting?
Super splitting refers to the process of transferring or splitting superannuation between former spouses as part of a family law property settlement. Superannuation, commonly referred to as “super,” is Australia’s equivalent of a retirement savings account. This specific service allows couples to divide their super assets during a separation or divorce – the sole purpose is to provide a fair and equitable distribution of the retirement savings.
There are a number of steps to take during this process, including but not limited to:
- Court order or agreement
- Splitting contributions
- Contribution limits
- Preservation rules
With our team, feel comfortable knowing we have a wealth of experience with superannuation splitting, meaning we know exactly how to make the process headache free, easy to understand, and seamless.
Why You Should Use Barton Family Lawyers
When it comes to splitting super it’s important to engage a trusted professional such as Barton Family Lawyers, to ensure the process is taken care of the right way, and the outcome you are after is met accordingly. The best part about engaging our expert lawyers is that you’re guaranteed industry leading and accurate advice based on your circumstances and your goals.
Continue reading our FAQs below to learn more about the process of superannuation splitting and how final arrangements are ultimately reached.
Speak to Barton Family Lawyers About Super Splitting Today
If you are currently going through a divorce and wish to speak to someone for legal advice regarding splitting super, call the team on 3465 9332 to speak to one of our Barton Family Law superannuation split experts. We’re here, and we’re ready to help make the process smooth, simple, and hassle free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is a superannuation splitting order?
Superannuation splitting laws enable superannuation held by one or both parties to be divided between the parties when a relationship breaks down. This is known as superannuation splitting.
There are three ways of splitting superannuation:
- A Financial Agreement;
- A consent order;
- An application to the court seeking an order for a superannuation split.
You should get legal advice about these options from our experienced Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane as to which option is right for you.
How is superannuation split in a divorce?
There are four steps that the court looks at when working out how to split superannuation in a divorce.
Check out our Property Settlement Page for more information.
Speak to one of our experienced Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane about how your superannuation is likely to be split in the individual circumstances of your case.
Can I split superannuation with my wife / husband?
Yes. You do this through a superannuation splitting order or through a Binding Financial Agreement.
Is my ex partner entitled to my superannuation?
Possibly. It depends on the individual circumstances of your case. We recommend that you book a clean slate consultation with one of our experienced Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane to obtain advice in relation to your individual circumstances.
What do you need to do to split your superannuation?
In Australia, the process for superannuation splitting for most separated couples is as follows:
- Value the superannuation – It is very important that you obtain an accurate valuation of your or your former partner’s superannuation before it is split. If you are not the member of the superannuation fund you can obtain a valuation of your former partner’s superannuation by request to their superannuation fund using a form 6 Superannuation Information Request Form. There is usually a fee for obtaining this information;
- Negotiate an agreement – Discuss and agree with your former partner as to how your superannuation interests will be split. You should seek legal advice in relation to individual circumstances to ensure that your agreement is equitable to both of you;
- Notify the superannuation fund of your agreement – the Superannuation fund who is affected by the agreement must be provided with a copy of the superannuation splitting agreement and the superannuation fund must approve the agreement before it can be signed and legally formalised.
- Jointly apply to the Court for a consent order to split the superannuation pursuant to the agreement – This is done by way of an application for consent orders filed in the Family Court of Australia. Alternatively, the parties may choose to enter into a Financial Agreement instead. When a consent order is filed, an Affidavit must be done notifying the court of the current value of the superannuation interest as well as evidence that the super fund has been provided with ‘procedural fairness’ i.e. that the fund has been notified of and agreed to the superannuation split;
- Provide the superannuation fund with the signed and finalised agreement after it is approved by the Court. The superannuation fund can then attend to carry out the superannuation split agreed.
There are three different types of superannuation:
- Accumulation account;
- Defined Benefit Account;
- Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).
Determining the value of the superannuation interest will vary depending on the type of fund.
If it is an accumulation fund, the value on the latest member statement will be accurate as to the value of the interest at at the statement date. Alternatively, you can make an application to the superannuation fund seeking information about the value of the superannuation interest.
A defined Benefit fund and an SMSF may be slightly more difficult. A defined benefit fund should be properly valued prior to any advice being given as to splitting that interest. An SMSF may need to be valued if the fund is made up more than cash in a bank account.
A valuation of a defined benefit interest is done by obtaining a valuation from an Actuary. This is a simple, quick and low cost procedure, which is valuable in order to ensure that the value of the fund is accurate.
The first step to valuing an SMSF involves obtaining information from the accountant who manages the Fund as to the assets, liabilities and superannuation in the name of the SMSF. If there is real property owned by the SMSF, that property should be valued by a property valuer.
Can a superannuation split be accessed as cash when it is transferred to me?
Generally no. Most superannuation benefits cannot be paid until the beneficiary (i.e. you) retires. This means you cannot access the funds straight away. Rather the splittable amount is ‘rolled over’ to a new superannuation fund of your choice. There are exceptions to this. For example, if the superannuation fund of the person whose superannuation is being split is already in payment phase, it can generally be accessed as cash and transferred to you.
Can any kind of superannuation be split?
Superannuation splitting is not possible for all superannuation interests. Each fund has their own legal requirements for a superannuation split and some types of superannuation interests are unsplittable. For example, most funds will refuse to split a superannuation fund if the fund contains less than $5,000.
Some SMSF’s are also difficult to split because doing so would have financial consequences, in particular, it may trigger the payment of tax. Even if those tax consequences are not immediate, it is still an important consideration for you in dividing an SMSF as to whether an asset is pregnant with capital gains tax. You should obtain financial advice as to the impact and tax consequences associated with splitting an SMSF, prior to any agreement being reached.
Do I need to have my superannuation valued before it is split?
If the superannuation fund is an accumulation account there is no need to value it and a paper statement will suffice to evidence the value of your super.
If you have a defined benefit fund, it is advisable that you have the fund valued by an Actuary to ensure that the value attributed to the interest is accurate. This is a quick and straight forward process and it only costs about $400 to do.
If you have an SMSF it may need to be valued, depending what it is made up of. For example, if it is made up of assets like real property, a painting etc it will need to be valued. It may not need to be valued if the SMSF is simply made up of shares or money in a bank account.
Can a de facto separation result in a superannuation split?
Yes. There are four steps that the court looks like in working out how much superannuation you might have to give to your former de facto partner.
Check out our Property Settlement Page for more information.
Requirements for Superannuation Splitting in Financial Agreements
Besides meeting the requirements for a Financial Agreement to be binding under the Family Law Act, under section 90XI of the Family Law Act, a superannuation agreement must meet two additional requirements that do not apply to consent orders, as follows:
- The operative time for a superannuation split to become binding on the trustee of the superannuation fund is four (4) business days after the Agreement is served on the Trustee: s90XI Family Law Act;
- The Superannuation Fund cannot act on a superannuation agreement unless it is satisfied that the parties are either separated or divorced. This is satisfied either by the parties serving the superannuation fund with either:
- a copy of the Divorce order;
- A separation declaration signed by one of the parties stating that they were married/in a de facto relationship, they have separated and, in the event that the Financial Agreement is a pre-nuptial agreement, it must state that there is no likelihood of cohabitation being resumed: s90XI and s90DA.
- If the member’s interest exceeds the low rate cap, being the eligible termination payment tax-free threshold ($215,000 in 2020/2021 and $210,000 in 2019/2020), s90XQ of the Family Law Act applies and a separation declaration must under s90XP also state that the parties have lived separately and apart for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately before the time the declaration was made.
If the above requirements are not satisfied, the superannuation fund cannot agree to affect the proposed superannuation split and any provisions in the financial agreement which provide for the superannuation split are void.
Superannuation Splitting in Financial Agreements where separated less than 12 months
The effect of the above is that if you are entering into a Binding Financial Agreement which involves a superannuation split in excess of the low rate cap (in 2021-2022 the low rate cap amount is $225,000) it is void unless the parties have been separated and have been living separately and apart for 12 months before signing the separation declaration: s90XP and s90XQ.
The ‘low rate cap amount’ is an amount set by the Australian Taxation Office each year which sets a limit on taxable components for lump sum superannuation payments that receive a low rate of tax. The low rate cap amount is applicable to people who have reached the preservation age but are under 60 years of age.
The purpose of low rate cap amounts and the additional requirement under s90XP and s90XQ of the Family Law Act, is to reduce the potential for tax avoidance by preventing persons who have not retired from withdrawing their superannuation savings early due to the tax benefits of withdrawing superannuation below the low rate cap amount.
Service of Financial Agreement on Trustee of Super Fund
Before a superannuation splitting order is made, there must have been procedural fairness on the Trustee of the superannuation Fund, in a similar manner to consent order agreements: s90XZD.
This means that the Superannuation Fund must have received prior notice of the specific order sought and the opportunity to object to the order being made. This occurs by the superannuation fund being served with a copy of the draft order proposed to be made. The superannuation fund may require service of an amended order, if they are not agreeable to the terms of the original order served on them.
This is just a formality in most cases as superannuation funds have specific wording that they prefer before binding themselves to the terms of a superannuation splitting agreement.
The superannuation fund should be provided with at least 28 days to review and comment on the proposed superannuation agreement, prior to the superannuation splitting agreement being signed.
Importantly, the separation declaration which is attached to the Binding Financial Agreement must also be served on the Trustee. The separation declaration must be signed within the last 28 days, otherwise it will not be accepted by the Trustee of the superannuation Fund: s90XI.
Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane
The division of assets (property settlement) following separation is often a very stressful and challenging process. Seeking legal advice from an experienced Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyer is highly recommended so you can understand your rights and entitlements prior to entering into any agreement.
You can find more information about the process of dividing your assets following separation on the following pages:
You may also like to check out our useful Free Family Law Information Videos on various family law issues relevant to you, such as how a court determines your property settlement entitlements and how to formalise a property settlement agreement.
If you have any questions about how your superannuation might be affected or any other matter relevant to the division of your assets following separation, get in touch with one of our experienced Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane. More information about our unique fixed fee approach can be found on our Fixed Fees Page.
Remember, just because you and your ex partner are amicable does not mean it is unnecessary to legally formalise your property settlement agreement. Unless you formalise your property settlement agreement, you are not protected in the future from a claim by your former partner in relation to your assets (including those acquired by you after separation).
Let our experienced Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane help you to formalise an agreement in relation to division of your assets as quickly and cost effectively as possible so you can move on with your life.
Superannuation Lawyers Brisbane
When a relationship ends the dividing of assets between you and your partner can be a highly stressful period. But Barton Family Lawyers are here to help you through this difficult time by providing you with the legal advice that you need to know. If you have any questions about the superannuation splitting process or would like to clarify anything surrounding your superannuation before underdoing divorce proceedings, give us a call on 3465 9332. You can also reach out to us via our online contact form and one of our friendly professionals will promptly contact you.
Courney is the only person I would call if I ever had any legal issues. Her help, knowledge and experience had helped tremendously through the rough times during my children and property court battle. I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers!
Found Courtney and George not only to be very professional but also very caring and courteous and I would strongly recommend using their services to family and friends if ever needed.
Courtney is a master at her profession.She promised me she would get my power back ,and she delivered.She is a balance of great empathy and fights for you all the way ,the outcome was exactly what i needed.I highly recommend her and her amazing team,to get you the outcome you want.
I had Cortney help me with my family court matter. I couldnt have asked for a better team. From the start the care and understanding from the whole team at Barton was outstanding. I will be forever grateful for the outcome. If you are after a awesome family lawyer look no further. The photo never would have been possible without Courtney and her team. Thank you
Thank you to Courtney and the Barton team for guiding me through a difficult and confusing separation process. Barton Family Lawyers kept me updated, acted immediately on my questions and instructions and most importantly put my best interests forward at all times.
There really is no way to put a price on the stress relief Barton’s exceptional service, understanding and drive for results brings.
Highly recommended if you want the work done right, first time.
Courtney and her team have gone above and beyond for myself and children. I’m so appreciative of them fighting for what was fair for myself and children.
Courtney knows how to deal with narcissistic behaviour and she had given me support and guidance through this traumatic experience.
Courtney is open with you and honest. Every email she sends or receives comes back to you and she will let you know what is important or not. They helped me through the process with detailed billing.
I could not have found anyone better to deal with my difficult separation than Barton family firm.
Everyone in the team I can’t say how grateful I am to everyone who work on my case. Thank you is not big enough. But I am thankful.
So far so good Chris, Rachel and the team at Barton Family Law, have been a exceptionally patient & helpful with my somewhat difficult case. As a veteran things can be quite complicated with regards to family matters. Would highly recommend 🙂
Barton Family Lawyers, or the ‘Dream Team’ as I like to call them. I cannot recommend Courtney, George and the team at Barton Family Law highly enough.
The last couple of years have been the worst experience of my life, but I was backed and supported 100 percent by the whole team at BFL. Nothing was ever an issue, me asking thousands of questions, me emailing stacks of questions, me crying on the phone was never an issue. I had nothing but support and expert advice the whole way through.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything Barton Family Lawyers did for me. Courtney, George, Tenayah, Ellie, Alice, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything. The whole team got me the absolute best results and I will forever be thankful.
To the queen of her team, Courtney, thank you. Thank you for absolutely everything. From day one you have been right at my side and have made me stand up and fight for what is right. You have given me back my power and I can never thank you enough for it all. You have been my voice when I wasn’t able to speak and have fought for me the whole way though.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I will scream the praise of you and your team to anyone who will listen.
To whom it may concern,
Ellie Prior and Barton Family Law were great to work with during a difficult time. Separations are tough, but Ellie consistently kept her cool and remained positive. Ms Prior offered timely expert advice/options for each circumstance throughout the proceedings.
Gladly, an agreement was reached that both sides were comfortable with. My family’s future is bright and I appreciate Ellie’s hard work.
Lawyers are expensive… Although, I am preferential to the Barton Family Law billing process. IMO Barton’s billing is superior to the law firm I was previously engaged with. Basically, Barton Family Law quote in stages for their work and don’t hit you with surprise extra charges. Three times money was left over in trust to be used for the next stage in court. My feeling throughout the proceedings was that Barton’s billing was fair.
Separations are stressful, Ellie and the Barton Family Law crew helped to make it as painless as possible.
Thanks Ellie, Courtney and the Barton Crew.
Amazing, amazing people, amazing location, just amazing everything
Thank you Courtney for your excellent service. Amazing professionalism & so efficient also showing compassion & understanding..the BEST in her field & I was so fortunate to have her support & advice…highly recommend.
Courtney and her team have been terrific in assisting me with my matter. Excellent communication, swift action and a very professional service – I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers.
I can’t thank Courtney enough for her dedication to achieving not only the best outcome for me but also what is fair and right.
My children and I are forever grateful.
The team at Barton Family Lawyers went above and beyond to enable a property settlement which enable me to move forward with my life. I highly recommend Courtney and the team for all your family law needs.
With experience and know how far beyond her years. I cannot thank or recommend anyone any higher than Courtney.
Having worked with many lawyers over the past 10 years she not only did the legal work to its absolute finest but more importantly she got my daughter back in my life at a time when at one stage I had given up hope.
She is such an authentic person & while she won’t sugar coat anything she is someone you want in your corner.
I highly recommend Courtney Barton, of Barton Family lawyers, for matters including domestic violence and property settlement. The legal system is very traumatising for domestic violence victims and Courtney helped me navigate this, with empathy and her extensive knowledge of the legal system. Courtney clearly explained the process and my options. Courtney helped enable me to successfully seek a domestic violence protection order, and a favourable property settlement outcome.
Divorce is never an easy journey for any individual regardless of their background, occupation or gender. Particularly so, as emotions are running high, all logic flies out the door and extreme frustration looms over one’s mind making it impossible to make a rational decisions. In a such volatile journey, having the right legal partner makes all the difference. Barton Family Lawyers have helped me keep my emotions at bay and enabled me focus on the issues at hand with a rational mind and thereby allowing me to reach a good result in my property settlement and my divorce.
I was not just a mere client but a lawyer (who practised a different area of law) myself and therefore questioned, examined thoroughly every advice and process Barton Family Lawyers gave and undertook in the family court. I wanted a lawyer who would strongly advocate for me, communicate my arguments/issues with the court and the other side like I would have if I was to defend myself. Barton Family Lawyers did exactly that. They exceeded my expectations and advocated for me so strongly in court or whilst communicating with the other side, but most of all, took all reasonable endeavours to enable me to reach my desired result. I strongly recommend Barton Family Lawyers to anyone who is looking a lawyer that is worth every dollar, produces outstanding quality work and wishes to feel the same vindication I felt through this journey.
From the moment we met Courtney we knew she meant business and that’s exactly how she performed right from start to finish.
She totally exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend her.
Thanks so much Courtney. A job well done and thanks to you a five year old has been reunited with his family
Courtney and her team are nothing short of amazing. Prior to and on the day of our case, the level of organisation and professionalism that was shown was incredible. We got the result we were after and I would recommend Courtney and her team to anyone. ThankYou again to the Barton Family Law team!
Excellent law practice. Courtney is amazing and the support staff are second to none. Very happy with their conduct of my matter and with the result. Highly recommended
I highly recommend Courtney and her team. I was amazed at their response time and their professionalism. They helped my daughter to navigate through a very difficult settlement, giving expert advice and making her feel at ease. There were tight turn around times and they not only met those timeframes but exceeded our expectations. Thank you Courtney, George and Tenayah, you are all amazing.
I highly recommend Courtney for child matters. She is highly professional, very responsive and efficient. Her knowledge and experience with Family Law helped to achieve the best possible outcome for my daughter. I couldn’t have gotten through this difficult time without her honest approach to working with me as a client.
I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers, Courtney is an amazing lawyer coupled with high level professionalism, empathic and efficient it is an unbeatable combination. She is able to handle any client’s emotional response with calm and confidence, I would not have been able to cope without her direct honest approach. The bonus is that Barton Family Lawyers are fixed fee and very clear so you know where you are a each stage. No surprises at the end and always available. Thank you so much.
Courtney was amazing from our first meeting. The fixed fees are great as you know what you are in for cost wise. She was super organised and and professional and got me a great outcome in the end. A big thank you to both Courtney and George for all your hard work.
Courtney and her team are nothing short of absolutely astounding. Courtney recently represented my partner through an absolutely awfully vindictive and horrid domestic violence and property matter with very very short notice coming up to a court judgment.
Courtney and her team were extremely thorough, fast to respond and spoke from the heart of exactly how my partner was wanting things to be put across.
I’m not sure where we would be without Barton Law, you guys are incredible!