Child Custody and Narcissistic Personality Disorders in Arizona
A narcissist spouse, whether a narcissistic father or a narcissistic mother, is only interested in themselves because they see themselves as the center of the universe.
That vision does not change when he or she has children, but don’t take that to mean he or she is likely to shrug off child custody issues.
In order to maintain the grandiose and inflated personality he or she has created, your narcissist spouse will go into the divorce intending to win all issues at all costs.
Divorcing a narcissist with children in Arizona is going to likely result in a heated child custody battle.
You need to know how to divorce a narcissist and win.
A no-holds-barred divorce battle is unpleasant for all involved, including you, since your spouse will view you as their mortal enemy.
But this kind of high conflict, contentious divorce is particularly damaging for your children who will be manipulated by your spouse and used as pawns against you without regard to the emotional damage caused to the children.
Narcissists Are Not Good Parents
If you have children with a narcissist spouse, you already know that narcissists do not make very good parents.
People with this personality disorder use others, including their kids, to meet their own needs.
If the narcissist finds a child talented or intelligent, they use her as an accouterment to demonstrate to others how great he or she is as a parent.
They ignore the kids who aren’t overachievers, who are difficult or timid or have special needs.
Even the “exceptional” child will be ignored by the narcissist parent when nobody is around to show her off to.
The narcissist usually doesn’t have much time for their kids.
They don’t engage with them, and rarely attend their school or extracurricular activities, giving them the clear message that they aren’t important enough. Of course, the harm a narcissist parent inflicts on his or her children can be far worse than this.
A narcissist tends to be judgmental and critical of everyone around them, ridiculing and mocking them viciously in order to boost their fragile ego.
They are easily angered by the perceived slight, including any moment a child isn’t paying him or her the attention they feel they deserve.
They may erupt in rage if one of the kids disagrees with his or her opinions or fails to meet expectations.
Narcissist parents can abuse their children both physically and emotionally.
In fact, many spouses make the decision to divorce a narcissist spouse because of the deep pain they inflict on the children.
You were aware that such a parent cannot empathize with you, but somehow you never expected them to be completely unable or unwilling to tune into the kids’ feelings.
As you watch your kids try endlessly to win their attention and love, without success, something cracks and you call your attorney.
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.
For more information about narcissists and child support and visitation issues, see Are You Married to a Narcissist, the first article in this series, or see Divorcing a Narcissist, Narcissists and Child Support, and Narcissist Divorce Advice, and Choosing a Divorce Attorney Against a Narcissist for the other articles in this series.
If you need information about child custody with a narcissist parent in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child custody attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child custody cases in Arizona.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona child custody case around today.
Arizona Family Law Attorneys in Scottsdale and Tucson Arizona
More Articles About Divorce in Arizona
- The advantage of Filing Divorce First in Arizona
- Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Arizona
- Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce Attorney Reviews
- Arizona Divorce Child Custody
- Arizona Divorce Debt
- Arizona Divorce Forms
- Arizona Divorce Laws
- Arizona Divorce Laws Alimony
- Arizona Divorce Laws and Statutes
- Arizona Divorce Laws on Adultery
- Arizona Divorce Papers
- Arizona Divorce Practice
- Arizona Divorce Process
- Arizona Divorce Records Search
- Arizona Marriage Laws
- Asset and Property Search in an Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse
- Change to Maiden Name After Divorce in Arizona
- Changing Orders in an Arizona Divorce Decree
- Children and Divorce in Arizona
- College Expenses After Divorce in Arizona
- Complex Divorce Cases in Arizona
- Conciliation Court Services in Arizona
- Consent Required for Marriage of Minors in Arizona
- Considering the Children during a Divorce in Arizona
- Convert to a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- Coping With Divorce in Arizona
- Court Services to Save a Marriage in Arizona
- Custody of the Family Pet in a Divorce in Arizona
- Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Divorce After Legal Separation in Arizona
- Divorce and Children in Arizona
- Divorce Arizona
- Divorce Case is on the Inactive Calendar in Arizona
- Divorce Court Jurisdiction in Arizona
- Divorce in Arizona Without Children
- Divorce Procedures in Arizona
- Divorce Records in Arizona
- Divorce Statistics in Arizona
- Divorce Support Groups in Arizona
- Domestic Violence and Divorce in Arizona
- Effect of Adultery on an Arizona Divorce
- Effects of Divorce on Children in Arizona
- Enforceable Arizona Prenuptial Agreements
- Failure to Include an Issue in an Arizona Divorce
- Filing for Divorce in Arizona
- Filing for Divorce to Receive Alimony in Arizona
- Guide to Divorce for Men in Arizona
- High Asset Divorce in Arizona
- High Conflict Divorce in Arizona
- High Net Worth Divorce Arizona
- How is a Divorce Finalized in Arizona
- How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Arizona
- How Long Does Uncontested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long To Be Separated Before Divorce in Arizona
- How long to get Temporary Orders in Arizona
- How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How to Appeal a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- How To Find Good Divorce Attorney in Arizona
- How to Start a Divorce in Arizona
- Learn About Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
- Legally Separated File Divorce in Arizona
- Marital Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- The merger of the Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- Military Divorce Laws in Arizona
- Misled Into Signing Divorce Settlement in Arizona
- Modifying a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- No Contest Divorce in Arizona
- No-Fault Divorce in Arizona
- Order to Pay Spouses Attorney Fees in Arizona
- Parenting Class During a Divorce in Arizona
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Protect Children in a Divorce in Arizona
- Quick Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons for Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons to File for Divorce in Arizona
- Represent Yourself in Arizona Divorce Case
- Same-Sex Divorce in Arizona
- Sealing Court Records in an Arizona Divorce
- Sell Home During Divorce in Arizona
- Selling Property During a Divorce in Arizona
- Served With Divorce Papers in Arizona
- Serving Divorce Papers by Publication in Arizona
- Should I Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
- Social Media Evidence in Divorce in Arizona
- Stop an Arizona Divorce
- Stop an Arizona Divorce if You Change Your Mind
- What Happens at a Resolution Management Conference in Arizona
- What Happens If the Divorce Case Goes to Trial in Arizona
- What Happens Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What is a Default Divorce in Arizona
- What is a Family Law Master in an Arizona Divorce Case
- What is a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona Divorce
- What is a Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is the Divorce Process in Arizona
- What Reasons Do I Need to Obtain a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What to do When Served with Divorce Papers in Arizona
- When Can I File For Divorce in Arizona
Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about child custody issues with a parent who is a narcissist to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.