Probably one of the biggest fears people have when they’re facing a high-conflict divorce is how to actually budget and prepare mentally for what they’re going to end up with in attorney’s fees. Many spouses in narcissistic divorces wonder what’s going to happen to the income of the household, the assets of the household, and how to strategize for all that.
Typically, when you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’re really beaten down because they’ve isolated you, they’ve made you feel like the crazy one because they’ve charmed everybody else around you in your life. Probably even family and friends think you’re the one that’s crazy because he or she is wonderful.
So how difficult does it become, then, to financially do this? A lot of people depend on family and friends to get divorced, and divorce with a narcissist can actually get more expensive. So let’s talk about the budgeting piece and, first of all, how do you pay for divorcing a narcissist?
Obviously, the first option would be go to family and friends if you’re financially dependent on the narcissist. However, based on the scenario previously described, which is a very common one, a lot of people can’t depend on family and friends because they’re not supportive of the divorce and think that the narcissistic spouse is a wonderful person – they haven’t seen what it’s like to live with them.
In a typical narcissistic divorce scenario, the narcissist has a lot of control over the finances. Whether they are often the breadwinner or it’s equal contributions to the marriage, they’re usually the ones controlling the purse strings. They’re the ones controlling the checking account, and they’re keeping track of it. So whether you’re providing financially for the family or not, you need to start having access to money.
If you don’t have the money to pay for an attorney, you need to figure out how to get it. If you approach family and friends, they may not be supportive of the divorce because they’ve been charmed by your spouse.
When you go to the grocery store, you can take out some extra cash when you’re getting your groceries because it won’t show up on the receipt that you were getting cash back. You need to plan and be strategic through the whole process, but especially when you’re getting your finances together. Apply for a credit card, but don’t put anything on the card, so you’re not having statements sent to the house. Maybe have the statements sent to another friend’s house, so your spouse doesn’t even know that this card exists.
If you can’t file right away, maybe you need four to six months to get enough money together. You can get an attorney who knows how to get you out of this situation and on your feet. Let’s say the narcissist is filing, you’re going to have to do whatever it takes in that situation to get the funds together. You’re going to have to be very strategic and build up those reserves and get that credit that you can get out.
You never really know how much a divorce with a narcissist will cost in litigation. So much of this is driven by the opposing party and what kind of drama they’re bringing in that can or cannot be accounted for. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to forecast the narcissist’s behavior 10 steps ahead, so we can strategize and reverse engineer the forecast of behavior.
Let’s say a narcissistic divorce does go to trial. If you’re talking about a household income of less than $200,000, and you have some children, and there’s no abuse or restraining orders that will require Department of Family and Children’s Services to be involved, it’s advisable to budget for about $25,000. This budget may work for very standard discovery responses.
While the cost could go north of that, if you know a ballpark of your worst case scenario and reverse engineer that, we can try to get you to that settlement – which is going to be a lot less money, but we have to be super smart about it. But if we know from the outset that there’s a great likelihood of going to trial, you know what you’re going to need to do to get there.
When we talk about getting credit cards and getting your family to help you if they will, we’re not asking you to come up with $25,000. If you’re the spouse that doesn’t work or you make a lot less money, we ask the court right away to have the other party pay for your attorney’s fees. So, there are ways we can help you get money throughout the process. We just need you to get enough funds to get going.
At ADLG, we budget with all our clients, regardless of whether it’s a narcissist, because we want our clients to know what we think based on what they’re telling us is their number one priority. A lot of firms don’t do that. If you don’t know what the other side is going to do, we don’t either, but we want you to have a full picture of what it’s going to take to get your number one priority.
It’s so important for consumers of attorney services, specifically in divorce, to feel that they can actually make a difference in the strategy by sitting down with their attorney and letting them know about the psychology and the dynamic of their household and how things have always operated. As previously mentioned, so much of the budgeting process for a narcissistic divorce in Georgia depends on every reaction of the high-conflict personality. If we know what gives him or her status – what they’re not going to want to lose – then we have so much information already that we can use to forecast behavior and how litigation is going to play out. Call our firm today to get started on your financial strategy for divorce with a narcissist.