How to Work Effectively with an Attorney When You Divorce a Narcissist
Posted on : April 7, 2016, By: Christopher Hildebrand
How to Work Effectively with an Attorney When You Divorce a Narcissist
A marriage to a narcissist can be emotionally damaging, and divorce is often the best outcome. But don’t be naïve enough to think the divorce will be easy. You can bet on a high-conflict proceeding that may make your marriage look like a piece of cake. Narcissists don’t know what it means to cooperate and are not going to make things smoother for you or the kids.
People with this personality disorder view the family court as a stage in which to manipulate and control. Getting an experienced divorce attorney on board is absolutely essential if you are divorcing a narcissist spouse. If you’ve made the decision to use legal counsel, it’s important to select the right person and then behave in a way that helps your attorney help you.
How to Work Effectively with an Attorney When You Divorce a Narcissist.
Here are top tips about working with an attorney when you are divorcing a narcissist spouse. Pick an attorney based on his experience and your own common sense. Just because an attorney has handled many divorces doesn’t mean that he is qualified to handle an action against a narcissist-spouse. Narcissists are not like other litigants. They play different games and require different divorce strategies.
Instead of asking potential attorneys whether they are experienced, ask specific questions about narcissism and how the attorney feels that it affects divorce strategy. Ask the lawyer to explain his or her understanding of what narcissism is and how a narcissist behaves during a divorce. The answers must be specific enough to convince you that this lawyer knows about narcissism and the dishonesty and grandstanding you can expect from a narcissist during a divorce.
Follow up with questions about the attorney’s strategies for dealing with a narcissist’s lies and manipulation. Ask about how he can get requisite financial information when your spouse is likely to hide relevant documents and provide false information. Ask about motions to compel (asking the court to enforce its orders) and for contempt (asking the court to punish someone who defies its orders.)
Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Mention any domestic violence or threats of violence and ask what the attorney might do to help keep you safe. Another way in which the narcissist may seek control and intimidate you is to refuse to comply with court orders. Your attorney should be able to share with you the strategy he or she will use to deal with this. Use your own common sense in evaluating whether this lawyer has what it takes to litigate against your spouse.
Only hire a divorce attorney who wins your confidence. Get financial documents to your attorney early. A narcissist will fight tooth and nail to prevent you from getting any of “their” money, and one usual tactic is to refuse to hand over evidence of any of their income or net worth. You can assist your attorney immeasurably – and cut down on your own attorney fees — by finding and copying essential financial documents before you tell your spouse you are divorcing them.
This includes copies of all financial account statements, tax returns, insurance policies, title to real estate and personal property and documents evidencing his income. If you signed any contracts before or during the marriage about property ownership, get copies of those as well. Do not communicate directly with your spouse. The key to coming out of a divorce from a narcissist in one piece is refusing to compromise your legal positions.
Essentially, this means refusing to communicate directly with your spouse, since you can be manipulated and bullied by him or her. If you must communicate regarding your children, use email and stick to the subject of the children. You can refer any questions regarding other issues to your attorney. You need someone to block your narcissistic spouse from trying to bully or intimidate you.
Divorcing a Narcissist.
If you’ve been married to a narcissist, you know how he or she works. You have a history together that includes intimidation, harassment, and emotional abuse. When domestic violence or child abuse has been part of your marriage, a divorce filing can trigger additional violence and abuse. It is likely that your spouse will use your fear of him or her to intimidate you in any interaction. That’s why you brought in an attorney, and your job during the divorce is to let your attorney do his or her job.
If he gets a restraining order prohibiting your spouse from coming near your house, it is essential that you do not invite or allow your spouse to approach you or the children in violation of the order. If you have minor children who will spend time with your spouse, your attorney can arrange for curbside custody exchanges without any need for communication. Likewise, if your attorney gets temporary support orders to provide you and your kids with money during the divorce, don’t even discuss these with your narcissistic spouse because one of the last things these individuals want to part with is “their” money.
Obviously, you don’t want to let him or her off the hook for the support payments, but even having a conversation with him or her about finances may cause them to tell the court you agreed to give them more time or to accept less money. In short, anything you say may well be twisted and used against you. This goes for email communications as well, although at least these are in writing.
Get a therapist on your team. It may be difficult for you to stand up to your spouse. Generally, the spouses of narcissists are used to being bullied and bossed by them. If giving in to his or her demands has been your standard operating procedure, you may not have the strength to keep them out of your house and your life during the divorce.
If that is your situation, get a therapist on board. Start working with an experienced professional even before the divorce is underway. You’ll want to be sure that the therapist has extensive experience with personality disorders. If possible, find a therapist who will give you an emergency phone number to reach him or her during the divorce in case you find yourself in a situation you cannot handle.
You should also understand that a therapist may be helpful in your divorce case if he or she finds you are experiencing emotional disturbances that a consistent with the emotional abuse imposed by the narcissistic spouse during the marriage. This could be an important issue when it comes to the court ruling on the issues of child custody and parenting time.