Wanting to move on after divorce is a natural feeling. You do not want to dwell in the mires of the "what ifs" too long. However, if moving on in your mind includes a physical move with your children, you may not get to go so easily.
Relocating within Orange County, California, may turn out fine. However, if you want to leave the state and still maintain custody of your children, your former spouse may have some say in where you go, if anywhere.
Out of state is a no-go
If you share joint legal custody of your children, you may not leave the state with your children unless permission your decree and custody agreement explicitly permit it. In many custody arrangements and parenting plans, you may not even take your kids on vacation out of state without the other parent's knowledge and approval. Therefore, moving with the children is not guaranteed.
The other parent can say no
You may move out of state if you have sole legal custody of your children. However, since most cases in California result in joint legal custody, moving away is not a simple option. If you share joint legal custody and want to relocate out of state, then you may attempt to get the other parent to approve the move. If, however, the other parent does not agree, then you may have to re-evaluate your situation.
Make the move legal
If you do get to move with your children, you and your former spouse should make the decision legally binding. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, it protects you in the event your former spouse decides to rescind the approval. Second, once you establish residency with the children in another state, you may want to modify your parenting plan so it is conducive to a two-state visitation schedule.
While moving out of the state is not impossible after divorce, it is tricky if you have children. Unless you can prove that remaining in California is detrimental to the children, you may want to try and get approval from your former spouse.