Cracking The Egg – Separation and Superannuation Split

We work all our lives to create a nest-egg that will hopefully sustain us comfortably in our retirement, and in this day and age most of us jealously consider our superannuation investments to be our own precious, private nest-egg. To some extent it’s true. Superannuation funds are held in trust, and therefore they can’t generally be attacked by creditors, even a bankruptcy situation. But that doesn’t mean they are unassailable.

Photo: Wilhelm Gunkel

Source: Unsplash

Many of my Family Law clients facing matrimonial property settlements wrongly assume their superannuation is locked away and can’t be carved up as part of the property settlement. I’m afraid it’s just not true. In the event of a relationship breakdown, all assets owned by both parties, including money held in super, must be identified and valued as part of the joint property pool, to be divided up between the parties, regardless of when it was acquired.

For the purposes of a property settlement, spouses have the option of taking their respective superannuation entitlements into account in the property settlement, by leaving them untouched and accounting to their spouse for their value from other assets, or alternatively by splitting the superannuation interest via a ‘payment split’. The most appropriate option will depend on the particular circumstances of each case. If it is convenient to make use of a payment split to effect property settlement then the superannuation of one spouse will be split so as to transfer part of that spouse’s superannuation into a superannuation fund in the name of the other spouse.

Before assessing whether or not you will be required to share your superannuation with your spouse for the purposes of a property settlement, it is essential to identify the nature and type of the superannuation interest you have, and its value. Once this is done, you are able to examine the effect of any proposed settlement and the likely consequences of any superannuation split, and decide whether or not it is in your best interest to make a payment split.

Either way, when you come to the property settlement table in Family Law proceedings, inevitably the whole nest egg will certainly be cracked.

Gisele Reid

Gold Coast Family Lawyer, Registered Migration Agent

Share the post

Recent Posts



More To Read

Our Alex Somers and Nicola Ellis have been named as finalists in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards 2024. Alex has been named a finalist in the Criminal category, and Nicola in the Real Estate category.   The Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards 2024 is an exciting nationwide recognition program showcasing outstanding young guns and […]

“Chris Nyst took to the stage – along with film producer Trish Lake and award-winning actor David Wenham - to take part in a lively Q&A, hosted by local radio personality Bern Young, to announce the long-awaited sequel to their 2003 crime/comedy triumph, Gettin’ Square.”
“The new Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, introduced in recent weeks by Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath, has got plenty of prospective property developers more than a little excited.”

Recent Posts


Contact us and see
how we can help

Whether your matter is civil, criminal or commercial in nature, our team at Nyst Legal has all the experience, expertise and diligence necessary to ensure that you achieve the absolute best available result.