Q: If the person from whom the child was taken did not have lawful custody of the child you would not be guilty of custodial interference. In addition, you may also have a defense if you reasonably believed that you by violating a custody order were protecting the child from physical or emotional harm. This is a partial definition of a custodial interference defense. Does “lawful custody” only mean the biological parents? Or does lawful custody include grandparents as well?
A: David’s Answer: “Lawful custody” in this context would generally refer to a court order of custody. That said, I’d disagree with the assertion that merely because a parent did not have a court order of custody then “custodial interference” would not apply. Schedule a consult with an Orange/Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.