Accurate disclosure of financial assets is an essential part of a just and equitable property division. When one side attempts to hide their assets, parties normally must engage in an expensive and time-consuming process to search for the hidden assets if they wish to arrive at a just outcome.
This issue was recently addressed by Parliament with the amendment of the Tax Administration Act 1953 (Cth) and the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The changes have created a new method of obtaining disclosure regarding the superannuation interests of parties in a Family Law proceeding so that it becomes easier for parties to detect any hidden or undisclosed superannuation information.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measure No. 6) Bill 2021 (‘the Amendment’) functions to amend the relevant legislation to increase the visibility of superannuation assets in Family Law proceedings. Prior to the Amendment, obtaining superannuation disclosure from a party that was attempting to conceal assets was complex, costly and time consuming. The Amendment seeks to solve that problem.
The Amendment enables parties to apply directly to the Australian Tax Office to provide them with information that will help identify any undisclosed superannuation interests. After receiving a request for superannuation information, the ATO will provide details of superannuation interests that are owned by the individual named on the application. This means that parties will have less need for subpoenas or Court Orders to obtain the proper disclosure, thereby decreasing costs and delay. This Amendment also decreases the risk of unequal distribution of assets after a settlement. The amendment is set to enter force on 1 April 2022.
If you need assistance with your Family Law matter or are having issues with disclosure, speak to Frank Law on (02) 9688 6023.
This is not legal advice.