A Navy sailor currently on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean has been ordered to appear in a Michigan courtroom for a custody hearing.
Matthew Hindes is fighting to keep his six-year-old daughter, Kaylee.
A judge ordered him to come to court Monday, or risk losing the child to his ex-wife, Angela.
According to ABC News, Hindes was given permanent custody of Kaylee in 2010 after she was removed from his ex-wife’s home by child protective services.
His current wife, Benita-Lynn, has been taking care of the little girl while Hinds serves overseas.
Hindes’ lawyers said his client should be protected by the Service Members Civil Relief Act, which says courts in custody cases can “grant a stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days” to defendants serving their country.
However, the judge presiding over the case disagrees.
“If the child is not in the care and custody of the father, the child should be in the care and custody of the mother," stated Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe.
Hindes cannot use Skype or call in for the hearing. Noe said he must be physically present in court.
Benita-Lynn said her husband not only risks losing their daughter, but also a chance to say good-bye if his ex-wife is granted custody.