Divorce and SMSFs v2
More Strategies

Divorces and SMSF’s – it can get messy

Sep 23, 2020, 9:47 PM

Michael and Annabel Wilson’s* divorce had been a long, protracted, and messy battle. A once-loving relationship degenerated into mudslinging and intractable posturing.

When marriages breakdown, it can be hard to resolve the division of assets and family responsibilities.

It is one thing for the Family Law courts to issue court orders. Quite another to execute them. Even more so with complex shared assets like an SMSF.


Distrust feeds the pain.

Michael & Annabel were barely on spitting terms. The pain made worse from the discovery process into the SMSF.

A loan had been made to a related third party, a property developer, without the other trustee knowing. Worse, the loan could not be redeemed. The funds tied up in an illiquid investment.

Funny how one event can become a flashpoint for years of missed moments. Misperceptions magnified by busy lives.


The facts of the case

  • The lawyers for both parties wanted the divorce finalised.
  • The family accountant felt conflicted; which party were they acting for?
  • Neither party was on speaking terms.
  • The SMSF had not been administered or audited since the marriage first broke down. Six years prior.
  • There were disputes about the valuation of the assets.
  • There were breaches of the SIS act. The liability for these attributed to the relevant trustee.
  • There were myriad insurance policies paid for by the fund. The value of these had to be calculated, allocated, and reimbursed.


The road to resolution

Joel worked with the accountant to tidy up the SMSF and remedy the SIS breaches.

The property investment was quarantined until it sold, to realise a financial return.

Independent valuations for the other assets obtained and the insurances allocated.

As a court-appointed auditor, Joel Curry is an independent party. He was able to get Michael and Annabel to sign the appropriate documents independently. So that the SMSF could finally be distributed as per court orders.

Most important, the divorce is complete. Michael and Annabel can move into the next stage of their lives.


If you want help

Not all marriages end in an ugly divorce. But if they involve an SMSF, executing court orders can be complicated.

Joel Curry is a Family Law Court SMSF auditor. He has extensive experience helping lawyers and accountants execute court orders. If you have any questions or challenges, please call Joel on 1300 874 787. He is happy to help you resolve any problems and help both parties move on to a new life.



*Names changed to protect the identity of both parties

If these SMSF case studies spark ideas or questions call on 1300 874 787 and Joel will be happy to advise.

Contact Joel