Narcissists Turn Nasty in Divorce Court
Despite your spouse’s disinterest in the kids at home, things look different in divorce court.
Once you file for divorce, you are the enemy trying to steal their money, their house and their kids, at least in their eyes.
Every last one of the children suddenly becomes essential to them — because they are the best pawns in their all-out war with you.
Your narcissist spouse will do anything to win the sympathy of the kids, and if they have longed for his attention, it won’t be too hard to accomplish.
You will need to know how to win custody against a narcissist.
They may use gifts to win their hearts, or suddenly bestow unusual privileges, like pulling them from school to head out to an amusement park.
They may schedule a trip to Disneyland with them and take lots of photos that end up in their divorce court filings.
Perhaps most painful to you, your narcissist spouse will try to convince the kids that you are to blame for the divorce and also any issues they have with them.
And they may succeed, at least temporarily.
If he or she doesn’t show up when they are scheduled to pick them up, it’s your fault. If they are feeling sick or sad, you are to blame.
How to handle your narcissist spouse in a child custody case
You may need to prove a narcissistic father or a narcissistic mother will not be invested in your child and, therefore, it is not in their bests interests to be awarded custody of your children.
Dealing with a narcissist over custody in Arizona can be a daunting challenge.
You are likely to find yourself in a child custody battle with a narcissistic mother or father. Divorce proceedings are difficult for kids.
They are losing their family –unhappy, but it is all they have ever known — and they feel pulled between their parents even when nobody asks them to take sides.
When one parent is a narcissist, the divorce becomes ugly.
Your narcissistic spouse will want to turn it into one of those long, extended court cases that cost tens of thousands of dollars and require sessions with case evaluators, court-appointed mediators, and child therapists.
Kids are not only stressed by the family breakup, but they are also actively solicited to take the narcissist’s side and manipulated by them in ways that will tear them apart.
Another part of the equation that is difficult is that, when you appear before the judge to discuss parenting time, the narcissist will carefully cover up the crazed megalomaniac they are.
The judge will see the charming person who wooed and won you. Your spouse will be on his or her best behavior, seducing the court with their calm, reasonable discourse.
They will make a persuasive case that you are to blame for their failures as a parent, and also discredit your statements about their lack of parenting skills as biased and unsupported.
The judge may not be well versed in narcissist behavior, so your spouse won’t be seen as the manipulator he is, but just a normal, loving father who has been trying to engage with his kids, but been blocked at every attempt.
You’ll need a couple of things to get through these proceedings without going crazy:
1) a lawyer with significant experience working against narcissists; and
2) a diary in which you have documented your spouse’s interactions with you and the kids.
The importance of hiring a strong, experienced divorce attorney cannot be overstated.
Look for a lawyer with hands-on experience opposing narcissists in court, who knows about the personality disorder and the tricks a narcissist spouse is likely to pull.
An experienced attorney will not let your spouse run the show and will take steps to prevent him from grandstanding.
A good attorney experienced in litigating child custody cases against a narcissistic parent will team up with tough, knowledgeable mental health professionals who will evaluate your family and work to protect your children.
A good lawyer will also know the kinds of court orders available in your state to prevent continued abuse from the narcissist after the divorce order is issued.
What kinds of help can you expect from the court
Talk to your attorney about whether a domestic violence restraining order action is appropriate. In many states, it does not matter that the domestic violence occurred long before you filed for divorce; if it ever occurred, you may be eligible for a restraining order.
Some state laws permit restraining orders for conduct that does not involve physical violence, like threatening, harassing, stalking, destroying personal property, and disturbing the peace of the other party (you).
Many courts also have the authority to tailor a divorce decree to control difficult and emotionally abusive parents.
They can include non-disparagement clauses (orders precluding parents from speaking badly of the other before the kids), orders forbidding parents from verbal or physical outbursts that threaten the children, or orders precluding certain types of punishment, including corporal punishment.