Industry super fund HESTA and the Women’s Legal Service Victoria are working together to get the process for splitting super assets simplified, with the aim of more women claiming their fair share of superannuation.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the current process for dividing superannuation assets in the family law system is “unnecessarily complex and often requires costly legal advice”.
“This results in many women, especially those from low-income households or who are most vulnerable, simply walking away from their rightful share of super assets.”
“If they can’t claim their share of super, for many women this means losing their only income in retirement beyond the age pension.”
HESTA and the Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) are developing a “streamlined and consistent process” for super funds to use.
According to HESTA, the current super splitting process is different between super funds, and the complexity makes it “extremely difficult to complete the required forms without legal assistance”.
The first aim of this Simple Super Splitting initiative is to “eliminate the need for legal advice for the straightforward division of super assets, via a simple, consistent form for court orders that can be used across the industry and by the courts,” said HESTA.
HESTA Head of Impact Mary Delahunty added: “We’re working to create a streamlined process that we hope can eventually be adopted by all super funds, with a simple template form that anyone can fill out and lodge without the need for a lawyer.”
WLSV’s Senior Policy Adviser Tania Clarke said a simpler process for splitting super would provide relief for vulnerable women trying to navigate the “costly and complicated legal system”.
“For many women superannuation is the only asset they can claim from their former partner, yet we know that they are walking away from accessing it because the super splitting system is just too costly and complex to navigate.”
“Making access to superannuation splitting easier will mean a lesser financial and emotional burden on family violence survivors and less industry and court time wasted trying to process a superannuation split. It’s a win-win for all involved in the system.”
“Many women escaping family violence, after years of economic abuse, are living with limited assets and serious debt. For many of these women, superannuation is often the only part of the property pool.”