New laws to add fairness to super splitting during divorce

Tax & Super Australia (TSA) has welcomed the passage of legislation which improves the way superannuation is divided in family law proceedings. 

The new law provides an information sharing mechanism between court registries and the ATO to improve the visibility of superannuation assets, allowing people to get access to proper information about their spouse’s superannuation assets. 

From 1 April 2022, a party to family law property proceedings in the Family Court of Australia, Federal Circuit Court of Australia and Family Court of Western Australia can apply to the court to request information about the identity and value of their former partner’s superannuation assets from the ATO. The requesting registry can then provide this information to the parties or to their lawyers. 

TSA Head of Superannuation Natasha Panagis said this is welcome news for many because getting full visibility of superannuation assets can be complex, particularly during hostile family court proceedings.

“Given that for many Australians superannuation is their second biggest asset aside from the family home, one partner not disclosing their superannuation in family law proceedings can have detrimental financial consequences for the other party.”

“This is particularly the case for those people with lower superannuation balances who may have taken time out of the workforce to care for children. The new law will allow affected partners to get their fair share of available superannuation.”

Currently, a party to family law proceedings cannot request superannuation information about the other party from the ATO, and also face difficulties in getting accurate or complete superannuation information about their current or former spouse/de facto partner. 

Ms Panagis noted the new law is a step in the right direction that would make it harder for parties to hide or under-disclose their superannuation assets in family law proceedings. “It will allow parties to family law proceedings to properly identify their partner’s superannuation and, ultimately, divide this asset on a just and equitable basis.”

For more information, please contact TSA Head of Superannuation Natasha Panagis:
Phone (03) 8851 4555 , Email n.panagis@taxandsuperaustralia.com.au]

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