Sailor to lose custody while on deployment

LANSING—A Lenawee County judge on Monday ordered that the six-year-old daughter of Petty Officer Matthew Hindes will be temporarily removed from his custody while Hindes remains on deployment in the Pacific Ocean.

Attorneys for Hindes repeated their objection based on rights granted by the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which allows protections from changing parental time orders while servicemembers are deployed on active duty, which Hindes currently is. The judge, however, held that the law allows her to make temporary adjustments while the original stay that allowed Hindes to keep custody is in effect until October. 

“This action shows us that more legislation is needed to protect the custody rights of those serving our county,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Our servicemen and women, who put their lives on the line preserving our freedoms, should not fear losing custody of a child while they are on duty protecting the rights of all Americans.”

The proceedings of this case inspired Jones to introduce Senate Bill 1015, which states that unless the best interests of a child are being violated, the court shall not modify the current parenting time order if one of the parties has filed a motion of stay under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

“This legislation should not even be necessary. The child is in no inherent danger and the father was previously granted custody,” Jones said. “We need to fill the loopholes in the law so that no soldier, sailor, airman or Marinehas to go through this type of ordeal while serving the nation.”

Jones introduced SB 1015 in July. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. A hearing is expected on Wednesday, Aug. 13 when the Legislature is back in session.