Interference with custody is a crime governed primarily by state laws, which vary by state, and seeks to protect parental custody against unlawful interruption. It is intended to address long-term interference with child custody rights. It was not intended to remedy late return of children from visitation or custody, unless that deprivation was substantial. Typically, interference with custody rights does not rise to the level of a prosecutable offense unless it occurs for a period exceeding twenty four (24) hours.
The following is an example of a state statute dealing with interference with custody:
(a) A person commits the crime of interference with custody if he knowingly takes or entices:
(1) Any child under the age of 18 from the lawful custody of its parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, or
(2) Any committed person from the lawful custody of its parent, guardian or other lawful custodian. "Committed person" means, in addition to anyone committed under judicial warrant, any neglected, dependent or delinquent child, mentally defective or insane person or any other incompetent person entrusted to another's custody by authority of law.
(b) A person does not commit a crime under this section if the actor's sole purpose is to assume lawful control of the child.