Superannuation split rejected by parties
Contributions – superannuation
- Each party submitted that there should not be a superannuation split. However, neither party said superannuation should be ignored. In each case the superannuation interests are accumulation accounts in the growth phase.
- The wife gave unchallenged evidence that she had superannuation before the commencement of the relationship and did not make contributions to her superannuation after she moved to Darwin (more or less contemporaneous with the commencement of the relationship). She said her present superannuation interests represent that pre-relationship interest and accretions only. In those circumstances the husband’s non-financial contribution (there being no financial contribution) to the wife’s superannuation was modest at best.
- The husband says that he had “some superannuation” before the relationship but he does not say how much. I infer from his silence on this point that any evidence would not assist. I conclude that his pre-cohabitation superannuation interest was not large. His interest was, it follows, primarily built up during the marriage. In my view the wife’s non-financial contribution to the husband’s superannuation was substantial. Each party contributed to the welfare of the family as homemaker and parent, permitting the other party to pursue their respective careers and, in the husband’s case, contribute to superannuation.
- The parties’ balance sheets at trial each included superannuation. Their proposed adjustments, in effect, took it into account as part of one pool, that is, any adjustment necessary because of superannuation interests was to take effect through an adjustment of non-superannuation assets. I propose to follow that course.
- I find that the contribution to the total superannuation pool by the husband was 35% and by the wife 65%. As the husband holds 55% of the total superannuation pool and the wife 45% of the pool this necessitates an adjustment in the wife’s favour of an amount equal to 20% of the superannuation pool or about $59,400. I will round this figure to $59,000. As the parties agree there is to be no superannuation split this must be made up from the other assets.
- I have considered whether there ought to be some discount of the amount paid to the wife to take account of the fact that she is receiving an amount before reaching her preservation age. I can see no actuarial reason for doing so. It is not, for example, present receipt of future income or other future entitlement but rather receipt of the equivalent of a sum that is otherwise subject to certain legislation and rules, principally regarding taxation. In circumstances where the parties have agreed that they will not seek a superannuation split I see no reason to make such a discount.