De facto couples in Western Australia are now one step closer to falling in line with other de facto couples around Australia.
The current legislation under the Family Law Act 1975 allows de facto couples that have separated in Australia to split their superannuation interests as part of a property settlement.
In Western Australia, de facto couples are bound by different legislation, namely the Family Court Act 1997. This legislation does not allow parties to split their superannuation entitlements.
The Federal Parliament has recently passed the Family Law Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Bill 2020 which will see Western Australia brought in line with the rest of the country. The Western Australian Parliament will now need to pass its own legislation to bring these changes into operation.
Once the changes have been implemented into legislation, it will have a profound impact on separating couples in WA moving forward as it will no longer exclude a significant portion of the asset pool available for division. This will see a more equitable outcome for parties who have previously been disadvantaged where their superannuation entitlements have been less than the other party, and particularly where there are otherwise nominal assets available for division.
Until the changes have been passed in the Western Australian Parliament, de facto couples in Western Australia will still not be able to split their superannuation interests.
Watch out for our updates on legislative reform.
Lisa Guagliardo I Associate