Divorce or separation

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Going through a marriage or relationship breakdown can be an emotional experience. Although it’s hard, there are some financial issues you may want to consider during this transition.

Splitting your pension

Under the Family Law Act, superannuation interests are considered a type of property by the family court. As well as accumulation-style accounts, these interests include the following UniSuper pensions:

  • Flexi Pensions
  • Commercial Rate Indexed Pensions paying $2,000 or more p.a.
  • Defined Benefit Indexed Pensions paying $2,000 or more p.a.

Once you separate or divorce, you and your ex-partner may split your super by agreement, or by court order—the same way as many other assets.

See our Super and family law fact sheet for more information.

Revisit your estate planning

If you’re getting divorced or separated, you should review any provisions you’ve made for your estate or for someone to manage your affairs if you’re unable to. These include:

  • the beneficiaries you’ve nominated to receive your pension after you die
  • requirements you’ve listed in your Will for the distribution of your assets
  • Powers of Attorney (POA) and/or guardians you’ve appointed to make important decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to.

This will help ensure your ex-spouse isn’t required to act on your behalf after your death, e.g. as executor, or doesn’t inherit any assets against your wishes.

Reassess your eligibility for Centrelink benefits

When your marriage or relationship breaks down, the way Centrelink assesses your eligibility for benefits like the Age Pension will change. This is because you'll now be treated as a single person under Centrelink’s income and assets tests. You may also be assessed differently under the assets test depending on your home ownership status following the divorce or separation.

As a result, your Centrelink payments may increase or reduce depending on your financial situation.

For more information, you can visit the Centrelink website or call 132 300.

Get a financial health check

If your marriage or relationship breaks down, the assets and liabilities you held individually and as a couple may be split between you and your former spouse—as a result, you may find yourself in unfamiliar financial territory.

This is a good time to take stock of your finances by having a financial ‘health check’.

A financial adviser can help get you back on track by reassessing your net worth and formulating a strategy to cover any costs (e.g. legal) you may have incurred and help you achieve your goals.

Find out how a UniSuper financial adviser can help you.