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Superannuation after separation or divorce

Separation and divorce can be stressful and it can have both an emotional and financial impact. There are various things to think about when adjusting to your new change in circumstances and it’s important to consider how your super could be affected.

If you or your ex has a QSuper account as part of Australian Retirement Trust, please use our website, Member Online, and forms for QSuper accounts instead.

 

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Important tips to maintain your financial wellbeing

Consider your financial position

The first step is gather information about your finances. This can include information about your bank accounts, super balances, bills, financial commitments and other legal documents. If you’re a member of Australian Retirement Trust, log into Member Online to check out your current super balance and past statements.

Explore your financial advice options

Financial advice can be valuable at any point in your life. So when things change, or you reach a personal milestone, get in touch. We'll be here to help you make decisions with confidence. Australian Retirement Trust has both internal advisers in the Member Advice Centre (MAC) to assist with all things super, and an established panel of accredited external financial advisers for members that have more complex advice needs. Call 13 11 84 or find out more about these services.

Get legal help

A lawyer or solicitor can help you through a separation or divorce and represent you in Court if it becomes necessary. We're unable to provide legal advice, but the Australia Government’s MoneySmart website lists Community Legal Centres and Legal Aid agencies that may assist you.

You can find more information about divorce and superannuation on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.

Documents can be sent to Australian Retirement Trust by:


Post:
Australian Retirement Trust
GPO Box 2924
Brisbane QLD 4001

In person:
(8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday)
Australian Retirement Trust Building
30 Little Cribb Street
Milton QLD 4064

For QSuper members only:

Send your forms to QSuper by email, post, or in person – see details.

Superannuation Information Kit (Form 6)

Parties may require a valuation of their own super account or their ex-spouse’s account in order to determine how much superannuation to split. The Superannuation Information Kit is available on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website. We only require pages 4 and 5 to be completed. The Form 6 must be signed and dated on both pages 4 and 5 by either the member, the member’s ex-spouse or another eligible person. You can send the form via post, or a clear PDF scan via email to familylaw@australianretirementtrust.com.au.

Family Law Superannuation Splitting

Superannuation is considered an asset and the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) allows super to be split between separated parties. There are two documents that can be used to split a superannuation account for family law purposes:

  • Sealed Court Orders / Sealed Consent Orders
  • Signed Binding Financial Agreement (BFA)

DIY Consent Orders

If both parties have reached an agreement between themselves and are attempting this process without legal representation or legal assistance, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website has an Application for Consent Orders (do it yourself kit). We’re unable to provide legal advice.

Draft Court Orders or a Draft Agreement (Procedural Fairness)

Before a financial agreement or court orders can be finalised, we ask that we receive a draft of the orders or agreement to ensure it contains the correct wording and instructions for a superannuation split. We will then respond, confirming whether the terms are acceptable or an amended draft is required. This is referred to as providing ‘Procedural Fairness’. We don’t charge a fee for this service. The documents can be delivered in person, posted or emailed to Australian Retirement Trust.

Please note, the procedural fairness responsibilities set out under section 90XZD of the Family Law Act 1975 and Rule 10.16 of the Family Law Rules 2004 require a copy of the draft orders that the parties intend to apply for, be provided to the Trustee at least 28 days before filing the application.

Sealed Court Orders or a Signed Binding Financial Agreement (BFA)

Once the orders or agreement is finalised, we require a certified copy of the orders or BFA be served on us in order to process the split. This can be served by either party involved in the separation.

Other than providing either Sealed Orders or a Signed Binding Financial Agreement (BFA), there is no specific form required to allow us to action a family law split. However, we do appreciate a covering letter with any available details for both parties, such as name, date of birth, postal address, contact phone number and member number. Alternatively, the spouse receiving the split amount can complete a Regulation 72 Notice and submit this to us along with the sealed orders. Please email familylaw@australianretirementtrust.com.au or call us on 13 11 84 to obtain a copy of the Regulation 72 Notice.

Once all paperwork has been received by us, we’ll write to both parties and confirm the split has commenced. Both parties will also receive final confirmation after the split has been finalised.

Flagging Orders

A Court, in accordance with section 90XS of the Family Law Act 1975, may make an order in relation to a superannuation interest directing the trustee not to make any splittable payment in respect of the interest without the leave of the Court; and requiring us to notify the member spouse and the non-member spouse, within a period specified in the order, of the next occasion when a splittable payment becomes payable in respect of the interest.

If the final agreement or final sealed orders do not provide for a superannuation split, Australian Retirement Trust must receive one of the following:

  • A binding financial agreement that stipulates the payment flag is to be lifted, or
  • Sealed order terminating the operation of a payment flag.

Subpoenas

Subpoenas relating to obtaining account information for a member can be served via post or in person. We don’t charge any fees in respect of providing information in response to a subpoena however conduct money is accepted.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between consent orders, court orders, and a binding financial agreement?

Consent orders are orders that you and your ex-partner have agreed to.

Court orders are orders that a registrar, judge or magistrate have made on your behalf.

A Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) is a legal document you and your ex-partner have agreed to. In order to obtain a BFA, both you and your ex-partner are required to have legal representation.

Can I withdraw my account balance once I’ve received my superannuation entitlements from my ex-partner?

No, you must meet conditions of release before you can access any superannuation you receive as part of your divorce or separation settlement.

Can I consolidate my other super funds into Australian Retirement Trust?

Yes, you can combine your funds in Member Online. You can learn more about consolidation on our website, or call us on 13 11 84.

Can I roll my funds out into a different super fund?

Yes, you can request to have your funds rolled out to a different super fund. Please note that the family law split can take 2 – 3 weeks to process before your funds can be rolled out.

Why is my super balance different to the base amount set out in my Orders/BFA?

Superannuation is a system where a percentage of your earnings (and any additional contributions you make, including family law settlements) is pooled into a super fund with other members' money and invested on your behalf to provide for your future retirement. This means that your super balance will change according to your investment returns.

Why do you need to create an Australian Retirement Trust account in my name for my property settlement?

Australian Retirement Trust's governing rules allows you to become a member of Australian Retirement Trust. As of the operative date stated in the orders or agreement, an Australian Retirement Trust account will be set up in your name.

A number of options will be available to you. You can request:

  • you continue as an Australian Retirement Trust member, or
  • we transfer a benefit for you to another superannuation fund nominated by you, or
  • if eligible, we pay a benefit to you as a lump sum (please refer to Retirement Eligibility and Early Access Eligibility).

When will I receive my superannuation settlement?

Generally, your court orders or binding financial agreement will direct us to split your ex-spouse’s superannuation as at a date after we’re served the documents. This date is known as the “operative date.” It can take 2 to 3 weeks for your superannuation settlement to appear in your Australian Retirement Trust account, though this may vary depending on processing timeframes. Your funds, including investment returns, are backdated to the operative date.

How can I see my superannuation balance?

You can join Member Online or download the Australian Retirement Trust App to access your superannuation dashboard.

Do you have any further questions?

If you have any further questions relating to Superannuation and Family Law, you can email familylaw@australianretirementtrust.com.au or call us on 13 11 84.