Can I move out-of-state with my children?
I am married with two kids, I live in LA, my mom lives in NY. My husband hit me in front of our children. I want to leave with my kids and stay with my mom, think, and, possibly divorce. First, can I take the kids or should I go for custody; second, do I need his permission; and third, should we separate first (though I would like to stay with my mom, after the children and I "visit" for Christmas).
If there is no court order in effect, than you you can take your children out-of-state. However, your husband can go to court and obtain an order which will require you to return to the state. If at that point you don't return or return but again leave with the children, you can be charged with parental kidnapping.
The safest way for you to obtain legal custody of the children is for you to go to court first. Taking a child from their home to live in another state without a court order is not a good idea; either now or in the long run, insofar as a custody battle is concerned. What you want to do is get a temporary order from the court on custody and visitation. It will be temporary because a final decree will be issued upon divorce. The court will consider the bests interests of the children in making its determination. The court will look at the age of your child, the relationship of the parents and the child, the present living situation of the child, etc.
Note: You could file for custody once you re-establish residency in NY but in the meantime, your husband could file. However, as stated above, you could be required at that point to return to LA.
Right now, you need to consult with an attorney in LA (even if you later decide to file in NY).
As for the issue of his assault on you, this is a case of domestic violence and you could have him arrested.