divorcing a narcissist

My husband or wife is a narcissist. This sentence is uttered at least once
a week in our office. We are told that this spouse will be charming, and
we will not believe that he or she has psychological problems. Sometimes,
our client merely has heard the phrase narcissist and decided that their
spouse fits the bill. However, there are times that one of the spouses
in a divorce is actually has a narcissistic personality disorder. Divorcing
a narcissist can be frustrating, but there is a way to get through it.

When divorcing a narcissist, you have to be prepared for a number of things.
First, and foremost, your legal fees are going to be higher than they
should be because the narcissist will draw out the process and make you
deal with frequent court appearances. You will deal with ridiculous and
illogical demands and positions. You and your attorney will feel like
you are putting out fires almost daily. Be prepared for invasions of privacy,
rude and emotionally charged encounters with your spouse, and for you
to feel helpless. Divorcing a narcissist is made even worse by the fact
that they typically try to find attorneys who will channel their narcissism
throughout the litigation.

So, how does divorcing a narcissist work? The first thing you need to know
is that you cannot actually fight a narcissist. They don’t typically
have the capacity to lose and must win at all costs. Even worse, our court
system rewards people who lie. People can hide money at will, because
most do not have the resources to hire forensic accountants to figure
out where it went. People can lie and misrepresent on their disclosure
forms and in certifications, because the court rarely punishes these lies.
You will feel as though you are talking to a brick wall most of the time.

There is a strategy to divorcing a narcissist. You must hire an attorney
who is smart, reasonable and strong. Don’t confuse that with hiring
a nasty or aggressive attorney, because that is what your spouse will
have and two aggressive attorneys will mean a disaster in terms of legal
fees. If you already have an attorney that is not being effective, hire
a new one immediately. Bad attorneys make difficult situations even worse.
Do not discuss divorce with a narcissist until you and an attorney have
a plan of attack. He or she may start to hide money and do other underhanded
things if you have not properly planned. Most importantly, you need to
choose your battles wisely. While you need to be proactive, remember that
divorcing a narcissist will not be easy because he or she will always
believe they are right.

If you are divorcing a narcissist, be sure to plan, plan and then plan
again. It will not be easy, but we can help you get through it.
for an initial consultation.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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