A new information-sharing initiative announced as part of the Morrison Government’s Women’s Economic Security Package will improve the Family Court’s visibility of the superannuation assets of parties to matters it hears, in an attempt to improve the speed and fairness of family law property settlements.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would get $3.3 million under the initiative to develop an electronic system to create this enhanced visibility.
“Getting full visibility of superannuation assets in family law matters can be complex, time‑consuming and costly, often requiring parties to go on ‘fishing expeditions’ using subpoenas and other formal court processes, with no guarantee of success,” Attorney-General Christian Porter said when announcing the funding.
“This new system will ensure faster and fairer resolutions of family law property disputes.”
A recent study by the Women’s Legal Service Victoria backed this up, finding that two-thirds of clients surveyed suffered delays in resolving family law issues because a former partner failed to make the necessary financial disclosures.
Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, also pointed out that the gap between the median superannuation balance of men and women nearing retirement age was 42 per cent.
The electronic information-sharing system would commence on 1 July, 2020.