Sydney, NSW -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/18/2014 -- In a relationship breakdown, the couples, regardless of being a married or a de facto couple, the law allows the splitting of their superannuation just like the settlement of the assets and properties of the separating couple. However the law considers superannuation as a different type of property. It is separate and distinct to the other properties and assets of a married and/or de facto couple. Splitting of superannuation is very important to both parties since most of their subsistence during their retirement will depend on it.
Superannuation splitting law allows the separating couples to assess the payments they made to their superannuation and split them accordingly. While this process does not convert their contribution to cash asset, it is still under the jurisdiction of the superannuation laws until they reach their retirement.
In splitting their superannuation, the divorcing couples may choose several ways to give effect thereto, which are:
1. The couples may enter into a formal agreement to split their superannuation. It must be documented and made in writing. Both parties to the agreement must also seek an independent legal advice of a lawyer who must sign a certificate attesting to the truth thereof. Settlement and splitting of superannuation in this method does not need to be registered with the Court. Both parties must have a copy of their signed agreement; and
2. If the separating couple cannot reach an amicable settlement with regard to the splitting of their superannuation, they may file an application before the court to assist them and ask a court order to split the superannuation. It must be noted that even if an application before the Court is already, the parties may still enter an amicable settlement at any stage of the court proceeding.
Splitting of superannuation can be carried out in two steps. The first one is to obtain information regarding the value of superannuation and other important and relevant data thereto. The second step involves the decision of the splitting couple on what method they should use.
In a separation case, there is usually a trustee who keeps the superannuation fund. In order to obtain the necessary and relevant information to assess the superannuation, the parties must provide a Form 6 Declaration to the trustee and a Superannuation Information Request Form. This will mandate the trustee to produce the necessary information to value the superannuation.
After obtaining the necessary information from the trustee, the separating couple must decide the method which they are going to use to split the superannuation. The parties may either do the splitting of superannuation by consent or through a court hearing.
Splitting by means of consent is the cheaper of the two methods since the splitting couple will not go through the process of a full blown trial and they will not hire the services of a lawyer to represent them. In any case, the separating couple will need to file an application before the Court and the registry will guide them on what documents they need to file.
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