June 21, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Navy sailor far away from custody case in Michigan

Adrian — A man aboard a U.S. Navy submarine is in a child custody dispute in Michigan, despite a federal law that typically requires a delay in court cases involving members of the armed services.

Matthew Hindes hasn’t been able to attend court hearings in Lenawee County in southeastern Michigan because he’s in the Pacific Ocean. The Detroit Free Press and The Daily Telegram in Adrian report that a judge wants him to appear or at least have his wife deliver his 6-year-old daughter to the girl’s mother.

Another hearing is set for Monday.

“The actions of this judge are a slap in the face to all servicemen and women who put their lives on the line protecting America,” said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Hindes’ former wife, Angela Hindes, lost custody of their child in 2010 amid allegations of neglect, but she wants to regain custody. She lives in northern Ohio. The legal case is in Michigan where the couple divorced.

Kaylee Hindes lives with Matthew Hindes and his new wife, Benita-Lynn Hindes, near Seattle.

The case should be suspended for at least 90 days under a federal law covering service members on active duty, but Judge Margaret Noe hasn’t granted that relief, said Rebecca Nighbart, attorney for Matthew Hindes.

Angela Hindes declined to comment when visited at her Ohio home by the Free Press. A neighbor, Tom Knapp, said it’s a “sad situation.”

“If the father’s not going to be available, then the mother should be there to raise the baby girl,” he said.

Benita-Lynn Hindes said she’s heard from other service members snagged in custody disputes.

“I’m just hoping that Judge Noe can hear our story and see how much we love Kaylee,” she told the Telegram.