Divorce and Superannuation: Making Sure You Get Your Fair Share

18 October 2021
 Categories: , Blog

One of the many components of divorce is the division of any shared assets. Sometimes this division can be perfectly amicable, with you and your spouse coming to an arrangement that satisfies you both. However, sometimes your divorce lawyer must negotiate what you're entitled to, as the division of certain assets (along with your subsequent entitlements and obligations as they pertain to said assets) isn't always entirely clear. One common problem can be the division of superannuation. 

Reaching an Agreement

Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to easily reach an agreement as to who gets what percentage of your accumulated shared superannuation. It can be as straightforward as each party opening a new account and then transferring your agreed share of the total amount to your new respective accounts. This isn't always how this scenario plays out.

Foregoing Your Claim

You don't necessarily have to take a share of any superannuation, despite its apparent status as a shared asset. This can even be a convenient bargaining chip in some cases, with one party opting to forego any claim to the fund in exchange for a greater share (or total ownership) of another asset. This is an approach that your divorce lawyer can pursue on your behalf, as there might be some complex back and forth before an agreement can be reached. However, if you're inclined to forfeit your claim to the fund in exchange for another asset, inform your lawyer as soon as possible, as this can help them to formulate their strategy.

Leaving the Fund Intact

Some superannuation fund companies may offer you another option, which can be beneficial if you and your spouse (and your respective legal representatives) are unable to come to an understanding. It might be possible to leave the fund as is, but for the company to flag the account, it may mean that one party is not able to withdraw or move the funds without the consent of the other. This is handy when an agreement cannot be reached, or when either (or both) parties are close to preservation age. This can allow you to avoid any additional fees for modifying or closing the account so close to when it can be paid out.

Superannuation can be a considerable asset, although your specific share of this asset can sometimes be complicated to determine, which is where a divorce lawyer can be of tremendous assistance. Contact a divorce lawyer for more information.