How Do You Fight a Narcissist in a Divorce?

The following expert-written tips can help you fight a narcissist spouse in a divorce case:

How Do You Fight a Narcissist in a Divorce?
  1. Do not reveal your plans
  2. Move to a safe place (if necessary)
  3. File for a temporary restraining order or a protective order (if necessary)
  4. Document everything
  5. Insist on communicating through your attorney
  6. Prepare for a high-conflict divorce
  7. Hire an experienced family law attorney
  8. Understand state laws

According to scientists, there are two types of narcissists – the vulnerable type and the grandiose type. A vulnerable narcissist has low self-esteem and he/she can be kept in check with some reassurances. A grandiose narcissist is a different kind of person altogether. He/she has high self-confidence, ego, and a sense of entitlement. He/she likes to control people too. This post focuses on the tips to follow while fighting a divorce case against a narcissist spouse, especially, the grandiose narcissist type.

Now, before following any online advice, know that:

The recommendations you find online may not necessarily apply to your case. In reality, everything depends on the circumstances of the case – for example, a spouse suffering from a vulnerable narcissist personality disorder may be open to taking medical treatment, but you might pre-judge him/her or you can confuse a vulnerable narcissist for a grandiose narcissist. Therefore, if you suspect your spouse is a narcissist, take the opinion of a mental health professional and then consult your divorce attorney before filing a petition.

Here are some recommendations to follow while fighting a narcissist:

Do Not Reveal Your Plans

Keep your divorce plans under wraps because you will have to gather a whole lot of information, including financial records. After collecting the information, store it in a safe place. If you reveal the location, your spouse can forcibly take them away or accuse you of stealing the documents, or do some other nasty things.

Move to a Safe Place (If Necessary)

If you are aware of or suspect any imminent harm to you or your children, consider moving out of the home immediately.

File for a Temporary Restraining Order or a Protective Order

If you have anticipated danger and moved out of your home but are getting threatening emails/messages, being stalked, or being abused physically or emotionally in any other way, ask your attorney to file for a temporary restraining order or a protective order (what you file will depend on your state and what you want to accomplish) to keep your narcissist spouse away from you.

Document Everything

Narcissists are known to lie, so you should keep all documents, record all relevant conversations, and make copies of emails and phone messages. Share these records with your attorney who can help pin down your spouse’s lies. Also, keep a list of witnesses ready.

Insist on Communicating Through Your Attorney

Communicating everything through your attorney can help you steer clear of emotional distress and think clearly during the divorce process. Narcissists can manipulate people, abuse them emotionally or financially, or throw them off balance. As it is, divorce is a painful event, and you don’t want any more mental stress. So, keep calm, and let your divorce attorney handle all the fiery communication.

Prepare for a High-Conflict Divorce

Narcissists can blame others, play victim, use children and other family members against you, and do just about everything to prove that you are wrong and they are right. Many divorces with a grandiose narcissist cannot be resolved peacefully – such cases may require the courts’ intervention, and the proceedings can drag on because the narcissist spouse will not admit that he/she is wrong. You should be ready for the long haul and consider discussing the divorce costs with your attorney.

Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Hire an experienced lawyer who has successfully handled divorce cases against narcissists. You will have to research well and interview a few divorce lawyers before choosing one. Experienced attorneys, aside from successfully handling high-conflict cases, are very well networked and reputed – they can help you efficiently and effectively.

Understand State Laws

Courts always decide the case in the best interests of the child. Therefore, do not allow emotions to seep into your communication and be straightforward and factual. Do not hurl allegations that cannot be proved because, if unproved, the courts can take a dim view of your case. Let the courts check the facts and decide whether you are right or wrong.

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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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