Divorce and super: How to get through a split
COMMENT BY CARA BRETT: The big (not so nice) D word.
Whilst it's not always the greatest thing to have to go through in most cases it is the best decision for both parties but it doesn't necessarily make it any easier.
Some people I know are currently going through the messy asset splitting stage and to be honest, I don't envy them one bit.
Whilst splitting assets can seem black and white to some degree, when you throw in emotion, and kids, things can get very grey, very quick.
Family law treats superannuation as property that can be divided too, even if you have separate accounts. It's important to note however that it isn't necessarily 50/50. When deciding on fair splits, the following factors will be taken into account:
- Whether anyone had to take time out of the workforce to have children and how long it was.
- Your respective ages- more importantly, how long until retirement age.
- How much each of you have.
- Who has the majority custody of the children, if any.
- Any contributions that have been made since the separation date.
Now I'm not a marriage counselor, and I am certainly not a family lawyer, but I do know about Superannuation, so I have outlined a few things you should be aware of when splitting super balances.
- Consult a lawyer - I know that you think that you can do things without lawyers, but you need to establish a superannuation agreement. There are specific forms that need to be completed and hiring a lawyer will ensure that the process goes smoothly. If things are too messy to establish a superannuation agreement amicably, then you will likely move onto a court order, which is never a nice thing to have to go through.
- Don't go spending too quickly - Once the superannuation balance is split, don't count on being able to spend it. These funds are still governed by the same rules around superannuation. This means you need to meet a condition of release in order to get access to these funds. Normally speaking we are talking about retirement, total and permanent disability and death.
- The transfer is made from one super fund to another - If you are on the receiving end of a superannuation payout, then the funds will be transferred into your super fund. There could be some transfer fees included in this process, not to mention any lawyer's fees that you will have to pay
This is usually a pretty tough time, but getting professionals to help you with this process will make it so much easier in the long run.
Cara Brett is a Senior Financial Adviser for Bounce Financial. Follow her advice blog here.