This study explores and identifies the different challenges for both antenatal and postnatal fathers that might act as precursors for poor paternal perinatal emotional well-being. Twelve fathers living in Sydney, aged over 18 years, identified as either an antenatal or postnatal father were interviewed concerning their experiences. Interview data were thematically analysed to identify challenges faced by expectant and new fathers. Five main challenges were identified – father–mother relationship, father–child relationship, life changes, lack of support and birth event. The results of this study indicate possible differences between antenatal and postnatal challenges, with postnatal fathers being confronted by additional challenges. These findings provide valuable insight for health professionals to better target treatment interventions by considering the actual precursors for poor emotional well-being in fathers.