Increased Visibility of Ex-partner’s Superannuation in Family Law Matters
It is not uncommon for one party to family law property proceedings (e.g., husband or wife) to attempt to under-disclose or even hide their assets or superannuation entitlements.
On 1 April 2022, new changes were introduced allowing a party to current family law financial/property proceedings (and a party’s legal representative) to apply directly to the Court to request superannuation information about the other party held by the Australian Taxation Office (‘ATO’).
Who can apply for their partner’s superannuation information?
The change applies to parties who are or were married and to parties who were in a de facto relationship.
For example, a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
This change is significant given that superannuation often represents an extremely important asset of one party or both parties in terms of value.
Additionally, women traditionally do not have as much superannuation as men, particularly in circumstances where a woman has left the workforce to care for a child or children of the relationship, and this change will therefore benefit those women.
Requesting Superannuation Information
The request must be made in the approved Superannuation Information Request form online.
Only a party to a current property settlement proceeding (or their legal representative) can make the request.
It is important that as much information as possible is provided about the party whose superannuation information is being sought.
The more information provided, the greater the chance of a successful match by the ATO.
Response to the Superannuation Request
A response to the request should be available on the Commonwealth Courts Portal within 7 days.
The response to the request will be a letter from the ATO to the Court advising that either:
- the individual was located and superannuation was found;
- the individual was located and no superannuation was found; or
- the individual was unable to be located.
This is a welcome change for a party to property/financial proceedings who may not otherwise be aware of the other party’s superannuation entitlement(s), or satisfied with the disclosure provided by the other party.
Who can view the Requested Superannuation Information?
The response will be visible to all parties and legal representatives.
The superannuation information received should be used solely for the purposes of the proceeding and must not be disclosed to anyone who is not part of that proceeding.
The superannuation information is disclosed for the property settlement proceedings only.
For more information, contact us at Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.
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