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Superannuation confusion

cherries04
Community Member

Hello,

I'll start off by saying how thankful I am for this community as it greatly helped me a few years back. For background information about my situation from a few years ago I'll link the thread info. I now find myself in a touch situation regarding my ex partners superannuation. Initially I hadn't thought much about the super as I was happy that my autistic son was getting the help we needed and my ex partner and I were able to co-parent without fighting. Our marriage was officially terminated Oct 2017. It has now dawned on me that I only have 12 months from the date to try and obtain my portion of the super that I would be entitled to. After much thought I do not feel it is fair that I walk away without my portion of the super, after caring for our son (who is severely disabled) for so many years, sometimes by myself, often with no help at all. I had moved away from my family and left a stable job. I am now a full time student. Going to uni is something I had always wanted to do however after the divorce it seemed my only option as I could not get a job anywhere. Due to enrolling in full time study and my son going with his father a bit more so that I have adequate time to study I am no longer on the carers pension. My current partner is amazing and works hard to keep a roof over our head and food on the table however we live paycheck to paycheck and I can't afford a lawyer to try and obtain my portion of the super. I've spoken to legal aid and they advised me they do not offer legal aid for these types of settlements. I've also spoken to citizens advice bureau and they don't seem to know much about how to help my situation either. I'm so lost and confused with all of this superannuation stuff. Now facing the reality that I may not be able to get my portion of it due to not being able to afford a lawyer. I just don't understand how he seems to walk out of this unscathed with his whole super and $80k per year job, meanwhile I'm nearing 30 with no super of my own and only just beginning uni studies. So many people say the system is designed to screw men over but in all this I seem to be the one who was really screwed over... Getting a bit down about it all. I am happy with my current fiance but because of my previous relationship with my sons father I feel like I have to be constantly planning for when things "inevitably" go south and once again I'm on my own- that means getting my portion of the super that I am entitled to...but I can't seem to get it

8 Replies 8

cherries04
Community Member
Previous thread outlining background info: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/relationship-and-family-issues/ohh-so-lonely

bindi-QLD
Community Member

Hi ,

I think a lot of people don't realize they are entitled to half their partner's super when they separate. Good on you for figuring it out in time. It can be worth a huge amount over time, don't let it go.

I would have suggested legal aid, that's weird they won't help you. Maybe you could try to employ an independent family lawyer for an hour, for advice on how to use the legal aid people? I've seen prices from $150 to $350 an hour as normal.

Hi Bindi,

Thanks for the input. I literally have $11 in my bank account right now so even a $150 per hour lawyer is out of the question. I did however manage to find a firm that does a free 1 hour consultation and if you proceed from there they have finance options available. I'll be going this Thursday and fingers crossed I get good news. Do you have any questions you think I should ask? I'll sit down tomorrow and write down a bunch of questions that way I can try to get the most out of my free hour. One more thing that occurred to me as well is that I've actually never had any sort of superannuation account before. The job I left was in another country before becoming an Australian citizen. I will have to ask about whether a super fund would be made for me or if I can make my own up for them to transfer it to? I have no idea ;/

Hi Cherries,

Well done, that's great you found someone to help you with the legal things. When I've needed to see lawyers for family court things, I usually try to ask for estimated costs first of all. They might need to charge you to correspond with your ex to get his Super information, if you don't already have access to it. And there might be forms to lodge with the family court. I have no idea how much that all costs if a lawyer does it. Perhaps you could ask if there's anything you could do yourself, like filling out and lodging forms for the court?

For advice about choosing a super fund, there are free financial councilling services available, if you should need them. It shouldn't be too difficult to sort that out though; you can choose your own super fund, then just join up. Even banks have super funds you can join online, but be mindful of the fees.

If you google the `superguide' website, the main super funds are reviewed and ranked for their performance. Its a pretty good guide, I thought. Their top ranked super fund seems pretty good, and has been up the top for a few years.

I wish you good luck with this, and hope the legal fees will be manageable.

X

Thanks Bindi,

I'm gathering all of my documents to take at the moment. There was also an occasion of domestic violence and I am not sure whether to bring a copy of my hospital visit. Fingers crossed it goes well on Thursday. I will definitely have a look at financial advisors and the super website. Thanks you so much for the info 🙂

Hi Cherries,

I think you are entitled to part of his Super by law, you don't have to prove any domestic abuse.

The way I understand it, whatever your Husbands super increased by in the time you were married, you are entitled to half of that, given you had no super of your own. If he started out with, say, $100K in super when you married, That is his. But if it increased to $200K when you were married, half of that increase is yours (ie $50K). If you can, try to find out what amount you are wanting to get, and make sure legals bills won't exceed it.

Hi Bindi,

I saw a lawyer yesterday and he said that normally people don't get legal aid for property settlement but given my situations he thinks I'm well past the requirements for it to be granted because of "special circumstances". He is not on the legal aid panel so I can't have him as my lawyer but he referred me to one he used to work with who is on the panel and would be able to represent me. I've booked in my free consultation with him for next week. Fingers crossed I get legal aid and then smooth sailing from there. I'm not interested in screwing over my ex despite the horrible things I endured throughout our marriage, I just want my fair portion of the super. For now I'll start researching super funds as you suggested that way I have a better idea of which one I'd like to use.

Hi cherries04,

Thanks for the update and for the very good news too! My attitude is the Laws are in place to protect both partners equally, even if you have been abused and it left you feeling you are not worth anything. So let them do what they can for you, you do deserve it. It will mean a lot to you, later in life, to have something. Please keep us updated if you can X