Break-ups are a part of life. While we often focus on the emotional toll they take, it’s also important to consider the financial challenges that might impact you.
Separating from your spouse or partner is life changing. Your financial situation - including your superannuation - can be affected when a relationship ends. It’s important to understand your options and where to go for support and advice.
Understanding what’s next
Whether you were the one who ended the relationship, or someone ended it with you, it’s common to feel lost. A separation impacts all aspects of your life. There are other practicalities to consider such as shared parenting, finding new housing, splitting assets, adjusting to a new budget, and revisiting shared financial arrangements such as mortgages and personal debt. On top of all that, there’s also the emotional upheaval of dealing with the grief that comes when something ends.
What you can do now
Evaluate your current financial arrangements including any shared personal debt, mortgage payments and ongoing costs such as school fees. You can also review any insurance you have together such as health or life insurance and update accordingly. Importantly, you need an understanding of where your future income is to come from - whether it’s from your job, investments or other financial assets such as savings and superannuation.
You can check your super balance easily through Members Online.
How super can help
It’s important to know that super is considered financial property. When you and your partner separate, both super accounts form part of the overall assets that get split. In some cases, one partner may have less than the other. For example, one partner may have taken time off to care for children. This is a common scenario that can be taken into consideration.
How you and your partner's super is split can be a complex process during an emotional time. To help you navigate this situation, it's advisable that you speak to a family lawyer. If you're experiencing severe financial difficulty during a separation, you may be eligible to access some of your super to help meet your immediate financial needs. Speak to us on 1300 130 780 to find out if you're eligible.
Dividing your super
You'll need to seek legal advice and reach an agreement with your partner when deciding how you'll split your super. Once this is determined you'll be provided with a copy of the agreement or court order which you can then send to your partner's super fund. There are a few ways you can divide your super.
- You can split it by agreement or court order.
- You can make a flagging agreement.
- You can account for super in your assets but keep it separate.
Decide how to split your super
Calculate the total value of both yours and your partner’s super
Review and update your beneficiaries
Some things you can do when you separate
Look after you
The grief associated with separating may impact your mental health. Reach out to places such as Beyond Blue to help give you the tools to cope.
Adjust to a new budget
Separation will often lead to a change in income. Get an understanding of where your money comes from and where it goes by creating a budget based on your new income and expenses.
Resolve financial pressures
Mediators are available to help both parties work through financial conflicts and disagreements without having to attend a court.
Review your shared property and assets
Try and work together to decide who gets what. You’ll then need to use a lawyer or contact a Family Dispute Resolution provider to help determine how it's split.
Set up your own financial accounts
This might include new bank and credit cards. You could also consider closing any shared accounts as soon as possible (or organise joint approval for transactions if closing the account is not possible)
Understand the total value of your super
You can check your balance online and request your partner’s super information by completing this form.
Need more help?
MoneySmart has compiled a helpful list of community legal centres and legal aid agencies that offer free legal advice.
If you have questions about your LUCRF Super account, you can speak to one of our experienced financial advisers.
Do you have questions about separating from your partner?
Speak to us today.Get in touch