How Can I Find Out How Much Super My Ex-Partner Has?27-06-2023 | Resource | Simone Thomas
In Australia, superannuation is considered to be a type of ‘property’ that is included in the overall asset pool when a marriage or de-facto relationship breaks down.
The division of superannuation assets, known as “superannuation splitting”, usually forms part of the overall financial settlement reached between both parties, taking into account factors such as each partner's financial contributions, non-financial contributions, future needs, and the length of the relationship.
For information regarding your entitlements after separation, and whether you may be eligible to claim a share of your former partner's superannuation, it is always advisable to seek legal advice. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide guidance based on the law and help you to understand your rights and obligations.
Finding Out How Much Superannuation Your Ex-Partner Has
When a couple separates and they start negotiating a property settlement, each party is obliged to disclose their financial situation to the other. That is, they are supposed to be open and honest about how much money and assets they hold, including superannuation.
There are a number of ways to find out how much superannuation (retirement savings) your former partner has:
1. Find any statements related to their superannuation balance issued by the fund.
2. Contact your former partner. It is often the simplest and most direct approach to ask your former partner directly about their superannuation details and it is in your best interests to keep communication open and civil.
3. If your former partner is unwilling to disclose their superannuation details, or if you are uncomfortable contacting them directly, speak to a lawyer who can advise you on the best way to proceed. For example, when determining a property settlement you are entitled to ask your ex-partner’s superannuation fund for information on the balance and value of the superannuation held, and this is done by completing a Superannuation Information Kit. Your solicitor can prepare this on your behalf and there is usually a small processing fee you will have to pay but this is a good way to find out the balance of your ex-partner’s superannuation if you know which fund they are a member of.
4. If your property matter is before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, there is now a fourth way you can find out information about your ex-partner’s superannuation without even knowing the name of the superannuation fund they are a member of. There is an electronic form called a Superannuation Information Form and after it is completed and processed online, your solicitor will receive information including the name and balance of all superannuation finds that your ex-partner was a member of, as at 30 June the previous financial year.
Do We Have to Go to Court for Superannuation Splitting?
A written legal agreement (property settlement) by way of either Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement which contains provisions to split the superannuation approved by the Trustee of the Super Fund is all that is required to split superannuation after you have separated from your ex-partner. You do not need to obtain Court Orders or go through lengthy and expensive litigation if you can reach an agreement with the help of your lawyers.
It is important to note however, even if you reach a property settlement that entitles you to receive a portion of your former partner’s superannuation, that portion will be transferred into your own super account (not given as a cash benefit) and you are not eligible to access this amount without first meeting a superannuation condition of release.
For more information on how superannuation is considered during a property settlement, contact the experienced family law team at Lamrocks Solicitors for advice on tel: 02 4731 5688. They can help you to untangle your financial affairs, then negotiate a fair and equitable property settlement with your former partner.