DAD SERVING OVERSEAS MAY LOSE CUSTODY BECAUSE OF INABILIITY TO APPEAR IN MICHIGAN COURTROOM

Matthew Hindes is a sailor stationed in a submarine somewhere in the Pacific. Four years after he was granted permanent custody of his child, 6-year-old-Kaylee, from his ex-wife, a circuit court judge has ordered him to appear in court over his ex-wife's custody petition filed last year.

"At this point, I don't think I have any alternative but to enter a bench warrant for his arrest," Judge Margaret Noe stated Monday according to the Daily Telegram, despite reviewing a letter authenticating his service overseas.

Candidly, it is very hard to understand the rationale behind this ruling just based on what is being reported.  The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was designed to present this exact scenario where a service member is penalized in litigation while serving his country.  The fact that he could be held in contempt for not appearing, when this is an impossibility, is also troubling.  Being in contempt typically requires an intentional violation of a court order.  How is the father intentionally disobeying a court order when he is overseas serving his country?

We are writing this article based on what is being reported.  Of course, there may be more to the case that could help clarify the rationale for the decision.  But based on the reports, it is a hard case to understand.  To read the entire store on this Service member who may lose custody while he is serving his country on the New York Daily News.   

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Source: Sailor's inability to appear in court while serving on submarine threatens custody of daughter, By Nina Golgowski, New York Daily News