Q: Are you able to shed any light on how Australian super funds are treated/divided by New Zealand courts in the case of divorce, where the two parties are also New Zealand citizens?
We’re not familiar with NZ family law but what I can say is that whatever a NZ court determines in relation to splitting Australian super benefits, then any division of Australian super assets will have to be consistent with Australian super laws.
Any decision regarding overall assets would need to be mindful of the restrictions on splitting Australian super benefits. Note that divorce is not considered a condition of release for accessing super benefits so any agreement including super benefits will mean an individual could only access the super benefits when an individual reaches preservation age AND retires. Preservation age is based on your date of birth, and ranges from age 55 to age 60, and if person is under 57 (at the time of publication), then they have not yet reached preservation age. For more information on preservation age, see SuperGuide articles What age can you access your super (Preservation Age)? and What age can you access your super (Preservation Age)? and Retirement Age Reckoner: Discover your preservation age and Age Pension age.
Historically, what used to happen in Australia, and still does where couples choose, is that superannuation is taken into account as an asset but one partner receives other assets rather than splitting a super benefit. Splitting super benefits is now happening more often.
We suggest you chat with your super fund in the first instance about your options with your benefits in the event of a divorce. You may also want to chat to someone within the NZ courts because we aresure they have probably dealt with this many times.
For a summary of how Australian superannuation benefits are treated when a couple divorce, see the following links: