26 September 2023

De facto separation laws updated

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The Department of Justice has said that de facto couples choosing to separate are to be able to split their superannuation in the same way as their Eastern States counterparts, following the passage of new laws through Parliament.

In a statement, the Department said there were more than 200,000 Western Australians in de facto relationships.

“This long-anticipated reform will mean they are no longer disadvantaged with regard to splitting superannuation assets in the event their relationship breaks down,” the Department said.

“Prior to the reform, the Family Court of Western Australia was unable to make an order splitting superannuation assets when it came to de facto couples,” it said.

“This was in contrast to married couples in WA, as well as married and de facto couples elsewhere in Australia.”

Attorney General, John Quigley said Western Australia had finally joined all other Australian jurisdictions in allowing separating de facto couples to split what was often their largest asset, superannuation.

“For too long outdated arrangements meant de facto partners in WA could not split their superannuation in the event of a separation,” Mr Quigley said.

“Instead, each partner walked away with their individual superannuation account balance, no matter how disproportionate they were, leaving women overwhelmingly disadvantaged.”

He said this often created severe injustices where there were not enough other assets to help make a fair division of property.

“I am pleased we have been able to right this historical wrong,” the Minister said.

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