Divorcing a Narcissist

Living with someone with narcissistic traits is exhausting and can be soul-crushing. They need to be the focus of attention and expect others to be constantly catering to their needs. They are manipulative, love power games, and often gaslight others to shift responsibility away from themselves.

These very qualities make divorcing a narcissist an ordeal. Divorce is never easy, but someone with narcissistic personality traits will intentionally make the process as difficult as they possibly can.

Choosing the right divorce lawyer is essential when your spouse is a narcissist. You need to work with someone who is comfortable in court, willing to tolerate the narcissist’s abuse without escalating the situation, and able to provide the support you will need. Your attorney must be a master strategist to ensure you meet your goals in the divorce as quickly and with as little drama as possible.

Release Any Hope the Divorce Will Be Amicable

Most mature adults hope to keep their divorce civil, especially when there are children involved. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible with a narcissistic spouse.

When spouses can agree on the issues relevant to their divorce—property division, spousal support or maintenance, custody and parenting time, and child support—they often can file for an uncontested divorce. It seems impossible for narcissists to negotiate in good faith. They will agree to something then reject it for no reason, often at the moment when it causes their partner the utmost distress.

Hoping a narcissistic spouse will be reasonable is a waste of time and energy. Instead, hire a family law attorney with substantial experience in high-conflict divorce. Assuming the worst is always the best strategy when divorcing a narcissist.

Be Prepared Financially

Narcissists like to be in control, and the narcissist controls the finances in many marriages. The other spouse may have little knowledge or understanding of the couple’s financial position.

A spouse should speak with a seasoned divorce litigation attorney about what to look for and how to access the information they need. Although both spouses must complete a financial disclosure during the divorce process, narcissists often lie, hide assets, and understate income. Usually, it is necessary to hire forensic accountants to get an accurate picture of a couple’s financial position.

A narcissist might try to manipulate their spouse by withholding access to funds, allowing utilities to get cut off, and similar strategies. A spouse is wise to have a source of funds available to help reduce the stress of the narcissist’s behavior. Spouses considering divorcing a narcissist should put away as much money as they can before filing and identify family or friends who could loan them funds if necessary.

Protect Your Children From Narcissistic Manipulation

One of the most damaging aspects of a narcissistic personality is the way they may manipulate children. Narcissists often play people against each other to get what they want, and they are not above trying to use their children as leverage in a divorce.

The other parent must walk a narrow line to ensure the children are protected without engaging in conduct that could be considered parental alienation. It is advisable to seek guidance from a mental health professional or divorce counselor about managing and responding to the narcissistic parent’s conduct with the children.

Courts always decide on issues impacting children by seeking the solution that serves the children’s best interests. Keep meticulous records of every instance of the narcissist violating a parenting time schedule or speaking or behaving inappropriately in front of the children. A skilled divorce attorney can use that information to convince a judge that the narcissist’s time with the children should be limited. If the narcissistic parent’s conduct is a safety concern, a court might refuse overnight visits and order all visits to be supervised.

Work With an Aggressive Attorney When Divorcing a Narcissist

Most divorces settle out of court, sometimes before either spouse files for divorce. The negotiating skills that serve most attorneys well in divorce cases are not particularly useful when a spouse is a narcissist.

You need an attorney who has taken divorces to trial and is willing to stand up to narcissistic abuse to help you achieve your divorce goals. Reach out to the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today to get started.

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