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Judge delays custody hearing for sailor at sea, grants ex-wife visitation

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Navy Petty Officer Hindes and his daughter (Courtesy: Facebook) Navy Petty Officer Hindes and his daughter (Courtesy: Facebook)
ADRIAN, MI (Toledo News Now) -

An Adrian judge under fire for his handling of a custody case involving a deployed U.S. service member has delayed the case in the face of controversy and protests.

Michigan Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe originally ordered Navy Petty Officer Matthew Hindes to appear in court for a child custody hearing, even though Hindes is currently deployed in the guided missile submarine U.S.S. Michigan. Hindes has had custody of his young daughter for the past four years, but now that custody is being challenged.

The order stirred up controversy across the country, because it seems Judge Noe has disregarded the Service Members Civil Relief Act, which grants active service members a minimum of 90-days stay for court proceedings. 

Protestors gathered outside the courthouse Friday to voice their opposition to the order.

On Monday, Judge Noe delayed the proceedings until October at the earliest. Judge Noe told those in the courtroom she had been unaware Hindes was deployed on a submarine when she made the order.

Without Hindes in court, Judge Noe went on to grant his ex-wife Angela Hindes the right to see her daughter once a month on Monday. The judge says the earliest Angela Hindes could see her daughter is this weekend. Angela Hindes would have to pay half of the cost to transport her daughter to Washington state, where Angela lives.

"I'm happy. I'm happy he's not under the warrant. I'm very proud that everybody has come out for us," said Michelle Monday, Hindes's mother.

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