Although psychiatry provides a clinical definition for the word “narcissist,” most people consider a narcissist to be, broadly, someone who is manipulative, arrogant, egotistic, enjoys conflict, and lacks empathy. Ending a marriage with such an individual has its own playbook, and our Fait & DiLima, LLP team has some advice on protecting yourself when divorcing a narcissist.
Count The Cost
We do not recommend staying in an abusive or violent marriage, but you must consider the practical effects of divorce on yourself and your children. Is this the right time to file for divorce? Can you afford attorney and counseling fees? Do you have the resources to pay rent and run a household solo while waiting for a settlement? If not, do you have family or friends who would loan you the money until your divorce is finalized?
Narcissists thrive on conflict. You must be prepared financially and emotionally for a long, drawn-out divorce battle.
Property And Maryland Courts
Before divorcing a narcissist, you will need to find the paperwork for all the property and accounts you and your spouse have, including stocks and retirement accounts. If your spouse controls most or all of the family’s finances, he or she is unlikely to share details with you about account balances. In fact, your spouse may own hidden assets.
Scan or take photos of documents and store the information online in a private app, such as Dropbox. If you have physical copies, keep them at a trusted friend’s home or in a safe-deposit box that only you can access. Our free divorce kit has more suggestions.
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means property should be split fairly and not necessarily equally in a divorce. Instead, the court will determine what a fair division is but in many cases the property is split equally unless proven otherwise. The judge can only rule on the presented evidence, so it is critical to collect as much information as possible before going to court.
Keep Detailed Records
Narcissists gaslight their targets by twisting a person’s words to make the individual seem foolish, incompetent, or worse. Moreover, narcissists have no qualms about lying to people in authority, such as police officers or court officials.
Therefore, it is crucial to document everything you and your spouse discuss. Use your phone or a notebook to record conversations and texts/phone calls about your children, finances, pets, etc. Because your document may be submitted later to the judge, record only what was said, not how you felt at the time. Keep a separate notebook to journal your thoughts and feelings.
Stay Away From Social Media
Your spouse can use anything you or your children post against you in court. Even if you have a private account, it can be hacked into or inadvertently shared with outsiders. We strongly urge you and your children to avoid social media during your divorce. Instead, use the time spent surfing online to physically exercise. Your body and mind will thank you.
Seek Counseling For Yourself And Your Children
Divorce attorneys in Maryland are just that – divorce attorneys. At Fait & DiLima, LLC, we are both fierce legal advocates and sympathetic listeners, but we are not therapists. You will have many emotions to work through during this difficult time. We believe professional counseling is a must for you and your children, in addition to your network of family and friends.
To that end, we have a list of recommended licensed therapists for adults and children. Your place of worship, children’s schools, and social services can also provide references to counselors and support groups.
Picture Your Future
The divorce process may drag on, but eventually, the divorce will be granted. What type of life do you want then? Do you want a different career? Do you want to move to another town or state? It can be hard to think of the future when you’re mired in the present. However, the choices you make today will affect your future self.
For example, if you have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, permit yourself now to research guitar models, guitar teachers, and music stores. Today, the process of investigation can be a stress reliever. Later, when you are ready to move on with life, you’ll have a path forward to transforming a dream into a reality.
Fait & DiLima, LLP: Bold Approaches, Effective Resolutions
With more than 50 years of collective legal experience, we have served numerous clients who sought to divorce their narcissistic spouses. We successfully represented these clients in divorce court and can help you, too.
If you are searching for a Frederick or Rockville divorce lawyer, call us today at (301) 251-0100 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, we offer in-person and online meetings.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.