Family Law – Superannuation Splitting


DBL applauds Western Australia for joining the rest of the country in allowing separated de facto couples in their jurisdiction to split their superannuation assets in property settlements. From 28 September 2022 separated de facto spouses are able to apply to the Family Court of Western Australia for superannuation splitting orders. This is a huge step forward in allowing Western Australian de facto couples the same rights as married and de facto couples throughout Australia. The difference in entitlements arose because all States and Territories of Australia adopt the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia except for Western Australia which operates its own Family Court of Western Australia. The rules and regulations are not identical across the two Courts.

Until now, separated de facto couples in Western Australia have been deprived of the right to claim the superannuation of their former spouse whereas de facto couples in all other States and Territories in Australia could. This outdated legislation ignored the fact that de facto couples may have made significant contributions to each other’s superannuation over the course of their relationship. A primary example of this inequality was seen in cases of de facto parents where one parent left the workforce to take on the primary carer role and subsequently ceased making contributions to their own superannuation during that period. Once separated, they were not allowed to seek a super split for the contribution they made to their partner’s ability to work and accumulate superannuation. This was particularly unjust in those cases where the non-superannuation property pool was small.

This long awaited reform has created equality among Australian de facto couples.

How to Split Superannuation 

In the event of a relationship breakdown, superannuation in most cases is treated as property and can often be divided through an agreement or court order.

In order to reach an agreement regarding the splitting of superannuation, many factors are taken into account, such as the financial and non-financial contributions during the relationship and the financial position of both parties following separation.

In particular, where an equitable division of assets cannot be achieved without the transfer of superannuation entitlements from one party to another, then superannuation splitting arrangements can assist in the equitable division of the property pool.

A super split is still subject to the relevant superannuation preservation laws and can only be released upon certain triggers in accordance with the superannuation fund’s rules including attaining a preservation age, terminal illness or severe financial hardship.

Splitting super can be a complex task. Please contact the Family Law team at DBL Solicitors for further advice via our Contact page or call us on 07 3106 5600.

DBL Solicitors