In a move that can only be described as ‘sane,’ a Michigan judge has delayed the child custody case of Matthew Hindes and his daughter, Kaylee, until at least October 22.
Earlier this month, Lenawee County Judge Margaret Noe had ordered the US Navy petty officer (who is currently deployed on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean) to appear by June 30th, or turn his daughter over to her mother. Petty Officer Hindes has had permanent custody of Kaylee since 2010, when she was removed from her mother’s home by child protective services. Since that time, Kaylee has been living with her father and step-mother in Washington State.
On June 17th, Judge Noe ordered Hindes to appear in court or face contempt charges. Petty Officer Hindes’ attorneys had asked for a continuance due to his deployment, citing that he should be protected by the Civil Relief Act and granted a “stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days.”
At the time, the judge disagreed and stated, “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.”
This news caught my attention last week and has been one of those issues that keeps drawing me back. According to court records, Kaylee’s biological mother was charged with child abuse. She agreed to plead ‘no contest’ against the charges and served 10 days in jail and was on probation until September 2012. Although she has filed to regain custody of her daughter, the court ordered her to pay the required custody-evaluation costs, but she has yet to do so.
Her attorney dropped her as a client in April, claiming she owed him over $2800. This was a week prior to her filing to have her child support payments lowered because she had lost her job and had a baby.
Although the situation is currently stable, I am very sympathetic toward Petty Officer Hindes’ plight. Serving on a submarine puts you out of touch with the outside world for weeks or months at a time, and I don’t know if Matthew even knows that the case has been delayed, or if he will have to wait for the next time the USS Michigan is receiving messages to find out his daughter is home and safe.
Petty Officer Hindes is doing his duty and has to deal with this insanity at the same time.
Prior to the judge delaying the hearing, Michigan State Senator Rick Jones said in a statement “that service members shouldn’t fear losing their rights while protecting the rights of all Americans.”
The Senator is absolutely correct.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of this website. This author accepts all responsibility for the opinions and viewpoints in this article.