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Superannuation Splitting for De Facto Couples —Western Australia catches up

The opening up of Western Australia (“WA”) in recent months has been great news for many families, friends and tourists wanting to visit there, or to move freely throughout Australia.  In other welcomed news from the west, WA is catching up to the rest of Australia by allowing separating de facto couples to split their superannuation in the event of a relationship breakdown.

There have been lengthy negotiations between the WA and Commonwealth Governments in relation to referral of legislative powers regulating de facto relationships in WA. A partial settlement has been reached and there will now be new laws allowing WA’s separating de facto couples to split their superannuation. 

This is significant because superannuation is often a couple’s biggest asset. The inability in WA to include it in the division of property accumulated during a de facto relationship has disproportionately disadvantaged women, who retire on average with half the superannuation of men. 

Prior to COVID, many local Hunter residents and their families travelled and worked for extensive periods in WA and if their relationship broke down whilst in WA, they were impacted by WA’s laws.  This change will mean de facto couples in WA will now have the same options as married couples when their relationships breakdown. WA will be in alignment with the other states and territories, all of which have allowed superannuation splitting for de facto couples for many years.

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