Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feminist Judge Orders Custody of 6 Year Old Away From Navy Father And Gives To Abusive Mother

Being posted on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean does not exempt a father from obeying child custody orders, a judge ruled Monday in Michigan's Lenawee County Circuit Court.

If Matthew Hindes is not available, then his current wife should have returned his daughter to the girl’s mother, said Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe.

A Navy submariner is in the battle of his life trying to keep his little girl in a custody dispute.

A judge has ordered Matthew Hindes to appear in court or face contempt, despite the fact that he's out at sea and there's a federal law meant to help those who are deployed.

The word "mom" comes easily for 6-year-old Kaylee. Benita-lynn Hindes is actually her step-mom, but she has been her primary parent for the last 4-years because her father Matthew Hindes is a regular crew member aboard the guided missile submarine USS Michigan.

Hindes and his ex-wife Angela are now locked in a custody dispute back in Michigan with a mandatory court hearing on Monday.  It's one he's unable to attend because the Michigan is deployed in the Pacific.

Hindes' Navy commanders point to the "Servicemembers Civil Relief Act."  It says, "In an action covered by this section in which the defendant is in military service, the court shall grant a stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days..."

But circuit court judge Margaret Noe in Michigan denied that protection for Hindes. The Daily Telegram quotes the judge, "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."  But sailor Hindes argues the child was taken from the ex-wife four years ago for neglect.

Still, Benita-Lynn says they have no choice. She's going to fly back to Michigan with Kaylee to be in court Monday with the possibility the ex-wife will get temporary custody and the sailor won't be there to say goodbye.

"Or be able to tell her, ''I'll always be with you. I love you,' and everything like that,"  Benita-Lynn said.

Military lawyers are now joining the effort to get a delay in the case.  In the meantime Hindes remains deployed serving his country.

"He's protecting the rights of others, but who's protecting his rights?" Benita-Lynn said.

She ordered last week that the child be placed in Angela Hindes’ custody in Adrian, Michigan pending the outcome of a hearing on a custody petition she filed last year.

The 6-year-old girl, Kaylee, is in Washington state with Matthew Hindes’ wife, Benita-Lynn Caoile Hindes.

Attorney Rebecca Nighbert of Adrian asked for a stay in the case under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The law provides a 90-day stay in civil court proceedings if military service affects a member’s ability to participate.

Matthew Hindes is a petty officer in the United States Navy, currently assigned to the USS Michigan. The submarine is now somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Nighbert said. She presented a letter from a Navy administrative officer to confirm his duty posting.

Noe denied the motion for a stay, ruling that he could have arranged for his wife to bring the child to her mother.

“At this point, I don’t think I have any alternative but to enter a bench warrant for his arrest,” Noe said.
“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.

Nighbert said the wife has put together money to pay for a flight from her home in Washington, but does not yet have money to rent a car to drive to Adrian from the airport.

Angela Hindes offered to drive to the airport to pick up her daughter. Noe agreed to waive an existing order that the wife not be present during the transfer of custody for parenting time.

Noe delayed her order for a bench warrant until Friday to allow the wife to bring the child to the airport. Noe also ordered the pre-trial hearing in the custody case to continue at 9 a.m. Monday, June 23.

Matthew Hindes was given custody of his daughter in 2010 after she was removed from Angela Hindes’ home by Michigan Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services. An Oct. 1, 2010, divorce judgment gave him permanent custody, but Angela Hindes petitioned for a change in the custody order in August last year.

"He's protecting the rights of others, but who's protecting his rights?" Benita-Lynn said.

Supporters of Hindes havestarted two Facebook pages to raise awareness about the story.

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