Child Custody and Kidnapping the Criminal Consequences

At the Orange county Law office of David P Schwarz we fight for the rights of parents to have custody of their child or children. However, we also can defend against false allegations of parental abduction of a child from the other parent. Pleases contact our office at 949 735 9266 or via the web for a consultation. We can also be contacted via email at

A Child custody lawyer will explain to their client and argue in front of the Court that aids California courts in attempting “to protect children from the extralegal hazards of custody disputes” and “reduce the possibility that desperate parents will take the law into their own hands.”

A child custody attorney will further provide that section 278.5. of the penal code states: “Deprivation of custody of child or right to visitation; Every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to 16 months, or two or three years, a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both that fine and imprisonment.

Nothing contained in this section limits the court's contempt power.

A custody order obtained after the taking, enticing away, keeping, withholding, or concealing of a child does not constitute a defense to a crime charged under this section.

A child custody lawyer will protect their client against false accusations of child custody abduction from the other parent. Penal code 278.5 provides a better means of locating and returning abducted children to the person or persons entitled to custody but makes the criminal sanctions for conduct.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will make sure the Court understands the purpose of the criminal statute use in family law court. The statute was enacted to encourage parents who are unhappy with custody or visitation provisions under existing conditions to return to the civil court to seek judicial clarification or modification of the order, and to discourage them from taking the law into their own hands by concealing the child in a place unknown to the other parent.

The parent who has had the child take from her or him must have first obtained a judicial finding by the family law court that the visitation order had been violated by defendant before a criminal charge could be filed against him.

There is not even a requirement that there be a violation of an order. “It would appear that once the child was taken out of the state and where there is an indication that there was a deliberate withholding of visitation rights either by absence from the state or by failure to notify of the address, that there is prima facie violation of the statute.”

Contempt was not lesser included offense of detention of child with intent to deprive another of right to custody, under legal elements test, as detention offense did not require violation of custody and visitation order, while violation of lawful court order was element of contempt.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will fight for the custodial rights of our clients. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached via email at

Client Reviews
David is an excellent attorney!!!!!!! He gives 100% to his clients. I highly recommend him for your legal needs, in his expertise. He has been most patient, gracious, thorough, and always gets right back to you. Thank you so much for your excellent service!!!!! L.H.
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I have referred several of my friends and relatives who needed representation in family court to David. From prenuptial agreements to divorce to child custody, David is the go-to guy. He is a seasoned attorney who knows what he's doing, and so far, I've only heard good things about him. C.G.