(A)(1) When a court of competent jurisdiction in this State or another state has awarded custody of a child under the age of sixteen years or when custody of a child under the age of sixteen years is established pursuant to Section 63-17-20(B), it is unlawful for a person with the intent to violate the court order or Section 63-17-20(B) to take or transport, or cause to be taken or transported, the child from the legal custodian for the purpose of concealing the child, or circumventing or avoiding the custody order or statute.

(2) When a pleading has been filed and served seeking a determination of custody of a child under the age of sixteen, it is unlawful for a person with the intent to circumvent or avoid the custody proceeding to take or transport, or cause to be taken or transported, the child for the purpose of concealing the child, or circumventing or avoiding the custody proceeding. It is permissible to infer that a person keeping a child outside the limits of this State for more than seventy-two hours without notice to a legal custodian intended to violate this subsection.

(B) A person who violates subsection (A)(1) or (2) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(C) If a person who violates subsection (A)(1) or (2) returns the child to the legal custodian or to the jurisdiction of the court in which the custody petition was filed within three days of the violation, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(D) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if the taking or transporting of a child in violation of subsections (A)(1) or (2), is by physical force or the threat of physical force, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(E) A person who violates the provisions of this section may be required by the court to pay necessary travel and other reasonable expenses including, but not limited to, attorney's fees incurred by the party entitled to the custody or by a witness or law enforcement.

Legislative history
1976 Act No. 592; 1990 Act No. 470, Section 1; 1995 Act No. 28, Section 1; 1997 Act No. 95, Section 4.