Washington, D.C.— Navy Submariner Matthew Hindes is currently deployed on a nuclear submarine and is in danger of losing custody of his 6-year-old daughter Kaylee.
Hindes is unable to appear at a custody hearing this Monday, June 23rd because of his deployment.
The judge in this case, Lenawee Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe, has threatened to hold Matthew Hindes in contempt of court and has refused to follow provisions of the Service Members Civil Relief Act.
“In the case of Navy Submariner, Matthew Hindes, the law is not being followed,” said Turner.
In 2008, Congressman Turner included a specific provision in the Service Members Civil Relief Act that grants service members a 90-day window to appear in court for cases related to child custody.
“This law is directly intended to prevent cases like this,” said Congressman Turner.
“But even when the law is followed to the letter, our service members are still placed at a severe disadvantage in child custody proceedings.
We need a national standard that ensures the parental rights of our service men and women are properly safeguarded.”
Congressman Turner successfully included protections in this year’s bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act that explicitly state that current and future deployment cannot be a factor in child custody decisions. The NDAA passed the House on May 22, 2014.
“The House has acted. We have the solution. We are waiting on the Senate to follow our leadership and protect and defend our servicemen and women,” said Turner.
The Department of Defense and Service reports link child custody disputes to the alarming amount of military suicides.
“With every deployment, our men and women in uniform live in constant fear that their custody rights as parents could be in jeopardy due to their service.
It’s hard to fathom the unimaginable stress that fear places on our military families.
Our men and women in uniform sacrifice a great deal to serve our country. We owe it to them to provide them with national standard of protection,” said Congressman Turner.