Child Custody Help from Albany Lawyers/Attorneys

Child Custody Family Lawyers Attorneys Albany Capital Region NY

The attorneys at Rhoades, Cunningham & McFadden, PLLC approach every custody dispute with the goal of obtaining a custody and visitation agreement that meets the best interests of your child. It is imperative that you examine every aspect of custody and be sure any potential agreement is your child’s best interest and will work for your family because once you enter into an agreement or a Court order is issued it is difficult to modify the terms.

We encourage parents to attempt to reach an agreement through negotiation and settlement.  This helps create a basis for a good future co-parenting relationship.  Unfortunately, sometimes there are emergency situations or unreasonable expectations that require litigation.  Ultimately, when determining custody both legal and physical custody must be addressed.

What is the difference between Legal and Physical Custody?

There are two categories of custody in New York: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody determines each parent’s right to be involved in making important life decisions for their children, including health care, education, religion and more.  A court can award one of the following:

  • Sole Legal Custody: Sole legal custody is most commonly awarded when there is a parent that is not fit or there is a history of domestic violence. Sole legal custody allows one parent to make decisions without having to get the consent or approval of the other parent.
  • Modified Legal Custody: Modified legal custody grants one parent to have the final decision-making authority but requires that they first consult with the other parent and obtain their input.
  • Joint legal custody. Joint legal custody, which is most common, requires that both parents discuss the needs of the children and come to a mutual agreement before implementing any decisions.

Physical custody determines where the child resides.  The Court will determine what is in the best interest of the child, when determining a parenting time schedule.  If a parent has the child more than 50% of the time, then they are deemed the primary physical custodian.  If both parents have equal parenting time, then the court can award shared physical custody.

In the event a child is not able to safely be alone with a parent the Court has the ability to suspend visitation or award supervised visitation.  Supervised visits allow the child to continue contact with their parent in a healthy way.  The supervisor may be an agency, a family member, a friend or a mutually agreed upon third party.

Does my child have a say?

When you are in Family Court for a custody proceeding or in Supreme Court for a divorce action and custody is an issue, an attorney for the child is appointed to represent your child.   The attorney for the child has an obligation to represent your child in the same manner your attorney has to represent you.  The attorney for the child will advocate for your child and express your child’s wishes to the Court.  The Court will consider the child’s wishes but is not bound by them.

Modification and Enforcement

Rhoades, Cunningham & McFadden, PLLC is also here to help clients change their existing custody and visitation schedules.  As time passes, your children grow and situations change.  What may have been in the best interest of your children at the time of your order, may no longer be in their best interest.  It can be difficult to modify a prior agreement or order of custody, so it is important to speak to an attorney if you believe your order should be modified to determine if you have a basis to do so and what the appropriate steps to take.

When a parent does not follow a custody order, an enforcement proceeding may be commenced.  It is important to follow the terms of a custody order, even if the other parent refuses to.  If your order is not being followed or if the other parent is alleging you are not following an order, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney.

No matter what the situation, we are here to advise you of your rights and options and will fight to get the best resolution for your child.

Several Testimonials From Our Clients…

“Karen Rhoades is an exceptional divorce attorney and I would highly recommend her services to anyone in need of them. She and her team were incredibly professional and they did a great job of explaining and facilitating the process. Karen meets you wherever you are to explain your options and present you with ideas based upon her knowledge and experience. My divorce was more amicable than many and Karen did a terrific job respecting the mediation process I was using. Divorce is never easy, but Karen takes what can be a complicated process and creates a streamlined one. Karen and her co-workers are easy to talk with and are always looking out for your best interest.”

Susan B., Clifton Park NY

“Regarding attorney John McFadden:  Exceptional lawyer, was able to successfully get me out of some trouble I never imagined could have happened. Highly recommended!”


“I had a complicated and emotional legal matter with my ex.  John [McFadden] was there every step of the way fighting for my rights.  I am glad I had John on my side.”

M.M., Latham NY

“I felt my divorce would go on forever before I hired Attorney Rhoades. She was incredibly professional, returned my calls and emails promptly and always explained my case and my options to me in detail. In the long run I was able to get everything I was asking for and more! Karen was always prepared, was a strong advocate and always spoke with knowledge about my case. Thank you so much Karen for the great job you did!! You’re professionalism, courteous attitude and willingness to fight for my rights should not go unnoticed!!”

K. F., Saratoga Springs NY

“Professional, focused, knowledgeable and trustworthy”

Repeat Client

“After calling several attorneys in the area for advice, I found Mr. McFadden and received a free consultation and his fee was very reasonable. he is very knowledgeable on the laws and rights of people charged with drug offenses.”


“Dan Cunningham my divorce two years ago.  He did a great job and I refer him to all my friends.  This firm is the best!”

L.C., East Greenbush NY

“My experience with Karen [Rhoades] was exceptional. I was going through a pretty tough time in my life when I contacted her office and her knowledge and experience in the law was like a breath of fresh air during this rough time. I would recommend her to anyone with a legal problem.”

Sandra, Albany NY

“I can’t say enough about this firm.  They were thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and lead me through a tough divorce.  Highly recommended.”