Judge Ignores Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

A Michigan judge made an error last month by issuing a warrant for servicemember Matthew Hindes’ arrest after he failed to appear in court for a custody hearing, according to Inquisitr. The error? Hindes failed to appear in court because he was serving in the U.S. Navy on a submarine located in the Pacific Ocean.

In 2010, Michigan protective services removed Hindes’ daughter Kaylee, now six years old, from the care of her mother on charges of neglect. Hindes was awarded permanent custody shortly thereafter in a divorce judgment and later remarried. Kaylee resides with her step-mother, Benita-Lynn Hindes, while her father serves his country.

According to KOMOnews.com, the situation has left Benita-Lynn – who has been acting as Kaylee’s primary parent for the last four years – in a custody battle with Hindes’ ex-wife Angela. Hindes’ commanders have indicated that this case violates the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which requires that, “In an action covered by this section in which the defendant is in military service, the court shall grant a stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days.”

This case highlights the need for plaintiffs to verify military status before filing a complaint against someone to be sure they are not violating the act’s regulations protecting servicemembers. Performing an SCRA search is the first step to ensuring compliance.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.

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