Separation or divorce can be a heart-wrenching experience with plenty of upheaval. It’s important to know how your super – potentially one of your most valuable assets – could be impacted.
When a couple separate, there is usually a variety of assets to be divided between each party. Your super goes into the mixing pot of assets that will be divvied up1.
Generally speaking former couples have a few options around their super*.
1. Split their super by agreement, or by court order - the same way as many other assets. Splitting super does not mean a couple can access it. Remember, couples won’t be able to access the money until a condition of release is met, for example reaching preservation age.
2. Indicate a time or event in the future, such as retirement, at which point the couple will make a decision around super.
3. Leave each other’s super intact and just focus on dividing other assets that can be accessed today.
Most people choose to split their super at the time of separation2. Dividing superannuation assets in the event of a relationship breakdown can be complex and people should consider obtaining professional advice.
If you decide on this option, it can also be a good time to tidy up your super savings, and roll any other super balances into your Active Super account to save on fees and duplicate insurance premiums. Please note that before you consolidate, you should ask your super provider for information about any fees or charges that may apply, or any other information about the effect this transfer may have on your benefits, such as insurance cover, before making a decision.
*Please note that these options may not be right for you and each person must consider their own circumstances.
Adjust your binding nomination
Adjusting your Will is critical after separation and divorce. As your super can’t normally be bequeathed through a Will, it is important to complete or update a binding nomination. This lets Active Super know who you’d like to inherit your super if you were to pass away.
Living with a new situation
The end of a relationship can mean significant changes to your household income as well as expenses. One of the best ways to navigate this is by using a household budget.
In particular, be mindful of how you handle debt. Relying on credit to get through a difficult period can make it a lot harder to get back on your feet financially. Separation can be exceptionally challenging but with sensible money management it’s possible to not only survive but thrive, following a separation.