To the delight or the dismay of separated couples, their individual superannuation entitlements are considered “assets” of the parties and included in the “net pool of assets” to be divided between them by way of property settlement.
By agreement (Consent Property Orders) or by Order of the Court made after a property settlement Hearing, the Court is able to make an Order which has the effect of splitting the superannuation entitlements of one party, in favour of the other party. However, the Trustee of the relevant superannuation fund must first be advised of the Splitting Order sought to be made and in writing confirm that they do not object to the making of the Order.
A Superannuation Splitting Order may be of great benefit to a party whose own superannuation entitlements at separation are modest or in circumstances where the major asset of the relationship is one of the party’s superannuation entitlements.
The outcome of a Superannuation Splitting Order being made in your favour generally means that you have new (or additional) superannuation entitlements which will continue to grow over time. The Federal Government’s rules and regulations regarding access to superannuation funds applies equally to the additional superannuation funds a party receives by way of a Superannuation Splitting Order.
This area of Family Law can get complicated especially if a party has superannuation in a “Defined Benefit Scheme” rather than the more common “Accumulation Scheme”. The value of a Defined Benefit is not the amount shown on the Superannuation Statement (it is often much higher) and these funds need to be properly valued by an expert superannuation Valuer before any settlement should be negotiated.