2018 California Code
Penal Code - PEN
CHAPTER 4 - Child Abduction
Section 277.

Universal Citation: CA Penal Code § 277 (2018)

The following definitions apply for the purposes of this chapter:

(a) “Child” means a person under the age of 18 years.

(b) “Court order” or “custody order” means a custody determination decree, judgment, or order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, whether permanent or temporary, initial or modified, that affects the custody or visitation of a child, issued in the context of a custody proceeding. An order, once made, shall continue in effect until it expires, is modified, is rescinded, or terminates by operation of law.

(c) “Custody proceeding” means a proceeding in which a custody determination is an issue, including, but not limited to, an action for dissolution or separation, dependency, guardianship, termination of parental rights, adoption, paternity, except actions under Section 11350 or 11350.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or protection from domestic violence proceedings, including an emergency protective order pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 6240) of Division 10 of the Family Code.

(d) “Lawful custodian” means a person, guardian, or public agency having a right to custody of a child.

(e) A “right to custody” means the right to the physical care, custody, and control of a child pursuant to a custody order as defined in subdivision (b) or, in the absence of a court order, by operation of law, or pursuant to the Uniform Parentage Act contained in Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600) of Division 12 of the Family Code. Whenever a public agency takes protective custody or jurisdiction of the care, custody, control, or conduct of a child by statutory authority or court order, that agency is a lawful custodian of the child and has a right to physical custody of the child. In any subsequent placement of the child, the public agency continues to be a lawful custodian with a right to physical custody of the child until the public agency’s right of custody is terminated by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by operation of law.

(f) In the absence of a court order to the contrary, a parent loses his or her right to custody of the child to the other parent if the parent having the right to custody is dead, is unable or refuses to take the custody, or has abandoned his or her family. A natural parent whose parental rights have been terminated by court order is no longer a lawful custodian and no longer has a right to physical custody.

(g) “Keeps” or “withholds” means retains physical possession of a child whether or not the child resists or objects.

(h) “Visitation” means the time for access to the child allotted to any person by court order.

(i) “Person” includes, but is not limited to, a parent or an agent of a parent.

(j) “Domestic violence” means domestic violence as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code.

(k) “Abduct” means take, entice away, keep, withhold, or conceal.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 988, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 1997.)

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