However, there are a few differences in how super is split.
Since super can be one of the largest and most important assets you own, and because the size of your super can be impacted by both your gender and your career, super is able to be split in the event of a relationship breaking down. This ensures that even someone who has entirely relied on their partner for financial support still has adequate retirement savings.
How super is split
Super can be split not only in when a married couple divorces, but also when a de facto relationship ends. This can be accomplished either through mutual agreement of the two parties, or through a court order. However, a super can’t be split if it holds less than $5,000.
When super is split between ex partners, it is not paid out. Instead, the split portion is treated as either a payment split or an interest split. A payment split means that the split super account is kept intact but will pay out the determined proportion to each partner upon them individually reaching a condition for release, like retiring. An interest split is different and operates more like a rollover. If you separate from your partner, and an agreement has been reached that will allocate you a portion of their super, then that portion will be transferred to a super fund you nominate. In both cases, the super will stay locked away until you and your ex-partner individually reach a condition of release.
There is no need to split super accounts 50/50; the exact proportion depends on the circumstances of the case and what agreement can be reached. Factors that should be considered include:
- The size of the super accounts
- The types of super account held
- The retirement needs of both parties
- If there are children
- How long until the super can be accessed
- The split of other joint assets
- Any tax implications
You’re entitled to information about your partner’s super
You can request information on both your own and your partner’s super accounts from the trustee of each super fund, though you may be charged for it. The trustee will provide information on the value and status of the super fund, any applicable fees and if withdrawals have been made. They are legally prohibited from either notifying the fund member of the request for information, or to give out the address of the member.
Because of both the financial and emotional complexities of splitting super, it is important that you seek out independent financial and legal advice. The valuation of the super funds in question must be done in accordance with the Family Law (Superannuation) Regulations of 2001 and goes beyond the information included in an annual statement.
You can read more about super and compare super funds here.
Compare Superannuation with Canstar
The following table contains details of the superannuation funds rated by Canstar based on someone aged 40-49. This table has been sorted by one-year performance (highest to lowest).
Please note that the performance information shown in the table is for the investment option used by Canstar in rating of the superannuation product.