“Why dads matter” is a brilliant article published in THE AUSTRALIAN (18.11.13). When it comes to the practice of family law I often read affidavit after affidavit after affidavit of complaint after complaint being made against my clients, who are often dads. A few years back I went along and attended some Dads in Distress meetings and witnessed firsthand the disenfranchisement and disempowerment some dads encounter as a result of them and their children being dragged through the family law system.

The article ‘Why dads matter’ is a reminder of the significant importance of father’s to their relationship with their children. The article focuses on the father-daughter relationship but the relationship between father- sons is equally important.

These are the key points:

  1. A father should be his son’s first hero and his daughter’s first love, in the sense of a love she will never forget, a love which leaves an imprint on her heart which will be there forever.
  1. Experts opine that it is the relationship between a daughter and her father which is the most important of her life.
  1. A daughter’s connection to her Mother through the womb is clear, whereas the father’s influence, the research demonstrates, is crucial, yet abstract and fragile. It is the fragility of the relationship which as a family lawyer I try to work with my clients to protect.
  1. Expert, Annie Gurton, is quoted by THE AUSTRALIAN explaining that a woman receives a powerful boost to her lifelong self-esteem from her father:
    a) “Women whose fathers have told them that they love them, that they are beautiful and wonderful, will have stronger, more robust self-esteem than those whose fathers did not, or criticised them,”
    b) “I quickly know which clients had fathers who were mean-spirited, critical or abusive for they are the ones who value themselves lowly.”
  1. Researchers at New Jersey’s Rider University looked at the father-daughter bond and its correlation with a development of positive romantic relationships:
    a) The sample size was 78 teens (average age 19) and they were asked to report on the quality of their relationship with their fathers and boyfriends.
    b) The researchers identified those girls who described as good their communications with their fathers, when compared with those who described communications with their fathers as poor, had significantly better communication with their boyfriends compared.
    c) The conclusion being that it is the sense of trust with their fathers which led daughters to better levels of trust with their boyfriends. The girls in the positive group learned from their secure and positive attachments with their father to create secure attachments with their boyfriends. They were better able to create relationships based on trust and clear communication.


This article is a brilliant reminder to all of us dads as to how important we are to the future development of our children.

The Family Law Act preserves the rights of a child.

The following 2 rights can be found at section 60B (2)(a) and (b) Family Law Act 1975:
d) Children have the right to know and be cared for by both their parents, regardless of whether their parents are married, separated, have never married or have never lived together; and
e) Children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives).

If you are a dad going thought the family law system and you are being shut out from having the relationship you would like to achieve with your child, then call us for your family law consultation.

O’Sullivan Legal are expert and experienced family lawyers who focus on delivering positive client outcomes. Call us on 8079 5200.