Family Court of Western Australia

News & Media Releases

Changes to the Family Law Act to commence 6 May 2024 and to the Family Court Act thereafter


From 6 May 2024, recent amendments to the Commonwealth Family Law Act (which applies to cases concerning children whose parents were, or are, married, to each other) will commence.

The amendments are broadly directed to ensuring that the family law legislation supports and upholds the best interests of children.

Among other things, this includes changes to the factors that the court needs to consider in making orders; measures to improve compliance with parenting orders; and better support for information sharing.

There is further information for parents on all of the changes on the Federal Attorney-General's Department website.

The Family Court's website has now been updated to refer to these changes which commence on 6 May 2024.

If you have a trial listed to commence before 6 May 2024, then the ‘old’ legislation applies to your case.

If you have a trial listed to commence on or after 6 May 2024, then the ‘new’ legislation applies.

See Practice Direction (No.1 of 2024), which refers to court forms which have been amended and certain Rules modified.

The WA Family Court Act (which applies to cases concerning children whose parents were never married to each other) will be amended to mirror the Commonwealth reforms.

The WA amendments are being drafted with high priority and will be introduced to Parliament as soon as practicable. However, it will not be possible for them to be passed prior to the Commonwealth reforms taking effect on 6 May 2024.

Cases under the WA Family Court Act will continue to be dealt with under existing legislation unless and until the State amendments take effect.

This is standard practice following amendments to the Commonwealth Act.

While the forthcoming amendments will improve the operation of family law in a number of ways, the Family Court of WA already has a legislative mandate to prioritise the safety and best interests of children and will continue to do so in all cases.