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Divorcing a narcissist? Keep this in mind

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Divorce

As 2024 unfolds, you might be among others in Colorado who have made a life-changing decision. Perhaps you’ve decided to switch careers or to sell your house. Maybe you’ve decided that filing for a divorce would be better than staying in an unhappy marriage to a narcissist. If you can relate to this issue, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind as you navigate legal proceedings because divorcing a narcissist can cause delays and other problems toward achieving a fair settlement.  

While narcissism refers to a pattern of behavior and not a specific legal issue, divorce can get messy when it is a factor due to things a narcissistic spouse might do to try to take revenge or gain the upper hand in child custody or property division proceedings. If you’re divorcing a narcissist, you are wise to take precautions.  

Avoid conflict when divorcing a narcissist

As you likely learned during your marriage, a narcissist often goes to great lengths to bait people into conflict so that they can turn around and blame them for their problems. This is the last thing you need when you’re trying to negotiate a divorce settlement. The good news is that you know this is typical behavior for a narcissist, so you can take steps to avoid conflict, such as restricting correspondence with your ex to test messaging, email or other written formats. 

Limit discussion to necessary issues only

Divorcing a narcissist will be less stressful if you limit your discussions to issues that are necessary to achieve a fair settlement. If you have children, such issues will include custody, visitation and, perhaps, child support. This doesn’t mean you have to talk about rules you plan to have in your own household, social events or other non-related issues. The broader the topic, the more room you leave for your ex to spark confrontation. Restrict communication to issues that are necessary for settlement.  

Ask a third party to be present when you meet in person

If you don’t feel capable of handling in-person meetings with your ex on your own, you can ask a third party to be present. This might be a trusted family member, friend or legal advocate. In cases where domestic violence has occurred, you may request a restraining order or to have a law enforcement officer present at every meeting. 

Divorcing a narcissist can be complex and highly stressful, especially if your ex is trying to turn your children away from you or keep you from getting all that you’re entitled to for property division. Seeking outside support is often the best way to remain calm and move forward with proceedings without getting involved in the drama your ex is trying to create. Contact Law Offices of Shawn H. Smith at 970-387-6858 or via email for a free and confidential consultation.