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How are superannuation entitlements taken into account in a property settlement?

Superannuation entitlements are considered property and part of the matrimonial or de facto property pool which is available to distribute between the parties following separation.

It is possible for superannuation entitlements to be divided between the parties as part of a property settlement. This is often referred to as a “superannuation split”.

A superannuation split occurs where a payment is made from one party’s superannuation entitlements and to the other party’s superannuation entitlements.

The funds remain in the superannuation environment so that one party’s superannuation entitlements are reduced and the other party’s superannuation entitlements are increased.

How can superannuation entitlements be split?

There are two ways in which superannuation interests can be split: –

(1) By an Order of the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. This can be by way of Consent Order or by an Order by a Judge in contested proceedings.

(2) By an agreement between the parties (A Superannuation Agreement). Parties to an agreement must first seek independent legal advice and obtain a certificate from a lawyer stating that legal advice has been obtained before finalising the agreement.

How do you ascertain the value of superannuation entitlements? 

If you are considering a superannuation split, the first step is to obtain a valuation of the superannuation entitlements.

Either party to a marriage or de facto relationship can apply to the Trustee of a superannuation fund to request information about either their own or their spouse’s superannuation entitlements.

To make an application, the applicant must provide certain information to the Trustee of the superannuation fund. Some superannuation funds charge a fee to process the application.

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