Our expert says:
It makes excellent sense for you ( and their father ) to be worried. And the central issue, surely, is what is best for the children. Maybe they are indeed being abused, and the signs you describe suggest that ; at the least they are signs which suggest that they are disturbed and unhappy in some ways. They need to be properly and carefully assessed by a child psychiatrist and a paediatrician experienced in such matters.
Maybe your husband needs legal advice, but I don't see why any court would order the children into protective custody or special care, unless perhaps the mother convincingly alleged that HE was molesting them when they were staying with you both. And this need not be presented as an acusation that the mother and / or step-father are molesting them, but that SOMEONE may be doing so, and they need a proper assessment to check on this possibility. It is possible a court would order them removed from the mother's home, and might even place thm with you, or maybe some other relative.
The mother is not entitled to withhold the children from their father unless a court has ordered that this be so. this is not connected to the issue of maintenance or its payment, and if a court got involved, it might well order that he have more frequent and maybe longer periods of contact with them. This would be much more satisfactory than allowing the mother to improperly withhold them from him, as with him seeing them only once in 6 months, it's far harder for him to keep track of the children's well-being and welfare.
If it can be substantiated that the children are being taken on trips with the sepfather in the cab of a long-distance lorry, I doubt that any court would consider this proper.
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