Changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
What are the changes?
On 1 April 2022, amendments were made to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) creating a new information-sharing process with respect to superannuation. These changes provide greater visibility of the superannuation entitlements of parties involved in property settlement proceedings before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA).
What are the purposes of the changes?
The purpose of these changes is to provide a cost and time effective way to discover financial information which is crucial to a property settlement. In many circumstances, superannuation is the main or only asset available for distribution in a settlement. Often matrimonial and de facto property settlements are hindered by a former partner/spouse failing to fully disclose of their super benefits.
Previously, in order to have full knowledge of the superannuation pool, parties to a dispute were reliant on the other party providing full and frank disclosure of the entirety of their superannuation benefits or alternatively, by completing a Form 6 Declaration and Superannuation Information form.
With the latter, you are required to know the name of the super fund your former partner has invested with in order to obtain the requested information from the Trustee of that fund. While a Form 6 provides more accurate and up to date results, the new Superannuation Information Request form can assist when a former partner is hiding super information or failing to disclose details which they are otherwise obliged to provide in a settlement.
The recent changes in legislation simplifies the above process and provides an additional avenue to ascertain information about another party’s super benefits.
How will this affect me?
To be eligible, you must be a party to a current FCFCOA proceeding. The application is made to a Registrar of the Court who will then make a request for the relevant superannuation information to be produced by the Australian Taxation Office. The information produced is then disclosed to all parties and their legal representatives within 7 days of the request being made. The more information you can provide about your former partner, the more it will assist in locating their super.
What do I do next?
If you would like more information about superannuation splits and property settlements, book an appointment with one of our experienced Family law team members at Lindbloms Lawyers.