Laws to help split savings after break-ups

·1-min read

New laws will stop people trying to hide or understate their superannuation when relationships break up.

Superannuation is a significant and growing asset, now totalling $3.3 trillion, and is often the biggest family asset.

The legislation passed by parliament on Thursday will allow the tax office to release superannuation information to a family law court on request.

"This is an important change that promotes equity in our super system, and is particularly important to Australian women," Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said.

The industry peak body congratulated the government for making it easier to find and split assets.

"The ability to split superannuation on separation or divorce is one of the most important measures to ensure equity and fairness for parties who have experienced the breakdown of a relationship," spokesman Martin Fahy said.

Justice advocates said the laws are an important win for victims of family violence who in the past have missed out after fleeing their partner.

Previously many women gave up on chasing assets they were entitled to.

"So many women leave violent relationships with no assets and this has an enormous impact on their ability to recover financially, as well as emotionally, from years of abuse," Serina McDuff, chief executive of Women's Legal Service Victoria, said.

Industry Super Australia director Georgia Brumby said the laws will help women recover some of the savings they sacrifice by taking time out of the workforce to raise a family.

"The super splitting legislation is a positive step the government is taking to address the gender savings gap that sees women retire with a third less savings than men."

The laws take effect from April 1 next year.

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