A Michigan judge ruled Monday that a father who is currently deployed on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean must obey child custody orders or face arrest.
Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe said that Matthew Hindes must turn his 6-year-old daughter, Kaylee, over to the girl’s mother while he is deployed.
According to The Daily Telegram of Adrian, Michigan, Noe ordered last week that the girl should be placed in the custody of her mother, Angela Hindes, pending the outcome of a hearing on a custody petition that was filed last year.
“If the child is not in the care and custody of the father, the child should be in the care and custody of the mother,” Noe said.
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Kaylee is in Washington state with Matthew Hindes’ current wife, Benita-Lynn Hines, while he is deployed.
Matthew Hindes was given custody of his daughter in 2010 after she was removed from her mother’s custody by the Michigan Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services. Angela Hindes has appealed that decision with the pending custody petition.
Michigan attorney Rebecca Nighbert is representing Matthew Hindes and asked Noe for a stay in the case under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This law provides for a 90-day stay in civil court proceedings for service members who cannot make it to court because of their duties.
The judge denied that motion, saying Kaylee’s father should have arranged to have the girl dropped off with her mother.
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“At this point, I don’t think I have any alternative but to enter a bench warrant for his arrest,” Noe said.
Nighbert told the judge that Benita-Lynn Hindes had secured money to pay for a flight to Michigan to hand Kaylee over to her mother but does not have the money needed for a rental car. Angela Hindes agreed to meet the girl and the stepmother at the airport.
Noe delayed the order for the bench warrant pending the Friday transfer at the Michigan airport.
Benita-Lynn Hindes told KOMO News that she was upset Kaylee’s father would not be there to say goodbye or “be able to tell her, ‘I'll always be with you. I love you,' and everything like that.”
Noe also scheduled a pre-trial hearing for the custody petition for Monday morning.
Military lawyers have joined the effort to delay that case while Matthew Hindes is deployed.
"He's protecting the rights of others, but who's protecting his rights?" Benita-Lynn Hindes said of her husband.