Criminal prosecution stemming from custody disputes are rare and are considered only as a last resort. Depending on the facts, the following criminal charges may be filed when a child is abducted by a parent or a visitation order is violated:
Penal Code Section 278 (Child Stealing) prohibits the taking of a child by a person with no right to custody.
Penal Code Section 278.5 (Deprivation of Custody) prohibits a person with a right to custody from depriving a lawful custodian of his or her right to custody or visitation.
Penal Code Section 207(a) (Kidnapping) prohibits a person from forcibly stealing, taking, holding or detaining any person in this state and carries them into another country, state or county or into another part of the same county.
Penal Code Section 166(a)(4) (Contempt of Court) prohibits the violation of a court order.