For most working Australians, superannuation is the largest asset they will have outside of owning their home. The amount of superannuation that an individual has will largely depend on their employment history and earnings.
How does this relate to divorce and separation?
A recent research report by David Hetherington and Warwick Smith from ‘Per Capita’ has noted how women’s superannuation generally accrues at a lower rate than men’s. See Figure 1 below which highlights data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The report notes that superannuation benefits accrue in direct proportion to income received. It is often the case that women spend less time in the workforce and so do not have the same opportunity as men to contribute towards their superannuation. Reduced time within the workforce is attributable to various factors including taking time off work to care for young children, carer responsibilities such as taking children to and from school and caring for children when they are sick. Other relevant factors include the cost and availability of childcare. All of these contributing factors often lead to an increased likelihood of being engaged in part-time or casual employment. Clearly these factors would also apply to fathers who carry out a primary care role.