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  • Visibility of super for permitted family law proceedings

    From 1 April 2022, the Visibility of Superannuation law allows individuals in a current property settlement proceeding to request super information of their current or former spouse/de facto partner through the Family Courts. The law allows us to disclose the super information about their current or former spouse/de facto to the Courts, who will then provide the information to all parties.

    Superannuation may represent a significant asset and can make up a large portion of the overall asset pool in separation proceedings. Parties may fail to fully disclose information about their super assets.

    Sharing information with the Courts will enable parties in permitted family law proceedings to have better visibility over superannuation assets at the end of a relationship and is expected to result in faster and fairer property settlements.

    There is an existing process in place for parties to gain super information directly from super funds, which is not impacted by this process. This new process will increase transparency and visibility where there are concerns that the other party has not fully disclosed all super assets.

    Who is eligible?

    You must be a party of a current permitted family law proceeding in either the Federal Circuit and Family Court of AustraliaExternal Link (FCFCOA) or Family Court of Western AustraliaExternal Link (FCWA) to make an application.

    Applications for super information cannot be made directly to the ATO.

    You or your legal representative can apply directly to the Courts for visibility of your current or former spouse/de facto's super information.

    How to make a request

    Step 1: You or your legal representative will need to complete the 'Super information request form' with the respective Court. Check the Court website for how to complete the form.

    Step 2: The 'Super information request form' must be completed electronically and include, at a minimum, the following information to assist us to locate your current or former spouse/de facto's super information:

    • full name including former names
    • any known addresses
    • date of birth in full.

    You should also include their phone number and/or email address if known.

    The more identity information that you can provide will assist in locating the super information.

    Step 3: The Court will verify there are ongoing permitted family law proceedings between the parties before the request is submitted to us.

    Step 4: We will respond to the Court notifying them of the outcome within 5 business days of receiving the Court's request.

    Step 5: The Courts will distribute the super information to all associated parties in the permitted family law proceeding and/or their legal representatives. This may be distributed electronically. Please check the Court's website for information on how any response will be distributed.

    Step 6: The super information provided by us may not reflect an up-to-date account balance and should not be solely relied on. The latest balance information can be obtained from the super fund directly by completing a Form 6 Declaration in the Superannuation Information Kit for your relevant Court (see below).

    The super information is disclosed for the purposes of property settlement proceedings and should only be disclosed to the parties and their respective legal representatives for the purposes of the relevant proceedings. Parties should be aware that making a record of, or on-disclosing, that superannuation information by a person may be an offence unless it is for the purpose of the relevant proceedings.

    Types of responses

    We will respond to the Court by letter advising either:

    • individual located and super found
    • individual located and no super found
    • individual unable to be located.

    When we have located the individual in our systems, we will provide information about the super accounts held by them that are known to us. Remember, the information should be verified with the super fund to obtain the most accurate account balance.

    If we cannot locate the individual using the information you provided in the search request, you may submit a new request via the Court if you have further identifying information which may assist us in locating the individual.

    If you do not have any further identifying information and we have been unable to locate the individual, you may want to consider other legal options available to you.

    Responses are addressed to the Senior Registry Official as they are the only person/s who can make a request for super information on your behalf.

    Super information provided

    Where we have located super information belonging to an individual of an APRA fund, SMSF and/or ATO Held monies we may provide the following:

    • Super fund name
    • Super fund ABN
    • Super fund USI (if applicable)
    • Last reported balance
    • Date of last reported balance
    • Account phase.

    Where the information is blank or listed as "not yet reported" this may mean we do not have this information.

    If the super balance is displayed as zero, there may be super in that account because super funds are only required to report balances annually. You will need to verify the latest balance with the super fund.

    Where any ATO held monies are present, we will provide the latest balance. The account holder can roll these amounts into an active super fund account.

    A super fund account may be in accumulation or retirement phase or in some instances both. There may be times where the ATO does not hold super fund account phase information so this can be obtained from the super fund together with latest balance information. For more information about phases refer to Accumulation phase value.

    The ATO information that is provided to the Courts should not be relied upon as it may not be up to date and could change at any time. It is unlikely to be sufficient evidence for court proceedings and independent legal advice should be sought about the information provided.

    A disclosure notice is included in each letter as the super information that is received should only be for the purposes of a permitted family law proceeding.

    What is an APRA fund?

    An APRA fund is a super fund that is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Refer to the APRA website for a register of superannuation institutionsExternal Link

    What is a self-managed super fund (SMSF)?

    Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are regulated by the ATO. There are a range of conditions that apply to the establishment and operation of an SMSF. You can use the Super Fund LookupExternal Link tool to check if a super fund is regulated by APRA, or whether it is regulated by the ATO.

    What is ATO-held super?

    ATO-held super refers to super money we hold for someone. This includes amounts paid by employers, super funds, retirement savings accounts (RSA) providers or the government on a person's behalf. To find out more go to ATO-held super.

    For more information

    If you have applied to the Courts to access the super information for your current or former spouse/de facto and have any questions, check the relevant court website for further information or speak to your legal representative. The ATO is unable to provide you with any information about your current or former spouse/de facto due to privacy.

    For more information, visit:

    If your super information was provided to the Courts and you are concerned with any of the information provided, you can contact us on 13 10 20.

    Last modified: 13 Apr 2022QC 68237