Marriage, divorce and your super

November 28th, 2012 | Estate Planning, Financial Planning, Investment, Superannuation

Taking the plunge and entering into a marriage is a big step in life.  Whilst it may not be at the forefront of your mind at the time, many financial decisions should be made between couples once legally bound in matrimony.

It is important that you understand your partner’s superannuation arrangements including any insurance they may hold through their super fund.  For example, who is the beneficiary of your partner’s super and do they hold any insurance or income protection through their super fund?  If you wish to make changes to the beneficiary arrangement for you or your partner’s super, contact your super fund or financial planner for assistance.

Plan your super investment strategy together
Although you are not permitted to combine your superannuation with your partner’s, discussing how you plan to invest your super and make a retirement plan together is wise, so that you can work towards achieving the lifestyle you both desire.

Spousal contributions
If you and your partner also plan to start a family, now is a good time to discuss spousal contributions to ensure your super continues to grow in the time away from the workforce.  If your spouse is taking time off work to raise children or work part time, boost their super during this time so they can not only benefit from the contribution to their super fund, but from the additional earnings from interest earned over time.  ATO criteria that must be met in order for you to be eligible to make spousal contributions and receive the tax offset – contact your financial planner to learn more.

Divorce and super
Super funds are required to provide information on a person’s superannuation benefits if the relationship breaks down, and the law says that superannuation benefits can be divided or split between parties if the relationship breaks down.  This applies to both married and defacto couples – of the same or opposite sex.

Where separating couples can agree, agreement may be reached on how the super is split and issue a “super agreement”.  This outlines how the super benefits are to be divided.  Where separating couples cannot agree, The Family Court will determine how the super payment will be split.

Changing beneficiaries
It is important that you review your beneficiary nomination for your super, particularly when your marital or family circumstances change.  Keeping it up to date will ensure it remains valid and effective.

Changing your surname
If you are getting married and you or your partner is changing either surname, contact your super fund to update your personal details.  Your fund will ask for the appropriate documentation, so ensure you have copies ready to send to your fund’s administrator.

Here at The Quinn Group our experienced team of Financial Planners, Accountants and Lawyers can provide you with the total solution and assist you with all your superannuation, financial and estate planning needs.  For advice about  super investment strategies and to get the best chance at the lifestyle you want, contact Peter Quinn by submitting an online enquiry or calling us on +61 2 9580 9166 to book an obligation free appointment.

The information in this document does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it.  It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and it is recommended that you seek assistance from your financial adviser.