Here are five things to expect when divorcing a narcissist:
- A narcissist believes he/she is superior to attorneys and judges and may disregard agreements and court orders.
- A narcissist expects special treatment during the legal process and in the final resolution of the case
- An angry or despondent narcissist escalates conflict, withdraws and slows the divorce process
- A narcissist charms attorneys, judges and experts, masks the personality disorder and makes proving legal issues difficult and frustrating for the other spouse
- A narcissist’s sense of meaninglessness stirs up primitive fears triggering fight, flight or freeze reactions, which are played out in the divorce
Here are four ways to respond or preempt a narcissist’s stereotypical conduct during divorce.
- Judges can’t enforce agreements unless in signed writings or incorporated into a judgment or court order. (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 664) Judges can impose fines and hold narcissists in contempt if the narcissist is aware of an order and fails to comply despite the ability. (California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1218 and 1219) Get all agreements in writing and signed, preferably before a notary and drafted in the form of a proposed order.
- Include explicit language that written settlement agreements are enforceable under California Code of Civil Procedure 664.6 and the California family court retains jurisdiction over the parties (you and your spouse) to enforce the agreement.
- Family law cases aren’t supposed to be “adversarial” proceedings. (California Family Code Section 2100(b)) The goal is to reduce acrimony and foster cooperation between spouses and their attorneys with a view toward settlement. If your spouse refuses to work cooperatively to avoid litigation, you may file a Request for Order for sanctions under California Family Code Section 271.
- A spouse’s contact by telephone, e-mails, text messaging, and faxes sent solely for the sake of harassing a spouse during divorce are “intolerable” under California Family Code 6320(a) and a misdemeanor if they also contain obscenities or threats of harm. (California Penal Code Sections 653(m) and (x)) If you’re being harassed by your spouse during divorce, consider filing a Request for Order for an Injunction or Restraining Order. (California Code of Civil Procedure 527.6)