To put it simply, very cautiously. Those who are married to narcissists are likely familiar with a lifestyle of “walking on eggshells.” Watching their words and being constantly wary of what they might do that could make their spouse fly off the handle. But, while being married to a narcissist can feel like an isolating experience, divorcing one doesn’t have to be.
When it comes to divorcing a narcissist, there can be a lot of benefit in seeking a legal professional who is skilled in dealing with what some call a narcissist’s “campaign of exhaustion.” By doing this, one has a far better chance of getting their soon-to-be ex out of their life and moving on.
How narcissists play along in the courtroom
While bringing up divorce might be what makes a narcissist fly off the handle, they’ll more than likely play along within the courtroom. But, that campaign of exhaustion can take the form of trying to wear their opposition down and thus lengthen the whole divorce process. Narcissists may also grandstand about who can really be “trusted” in an attempt to wear down the bonds between their spouse and their respective attorney. This can all lead to emotional burnout as well as financial drain.
Narcissists may also try to continue this campaign of exhaustion through the forming of the divorce agreement. For instance, if the agreement entails that an in-person meeting is needed to exchange custody of their children, that gives them further opportunity to belittle their former spouse, and in front of their children. This can be troubling, as a common concern when divorcing a narcissist is the mental health of one’s children.
The benefits of seeking out an attorney who deals with cases like these
Divorce can be complex and multifaceted even without a narcissist involved. Approaching the process can benefit from the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in civil procedure, familiar with the interlocking of different financial vehicles, and who knows when to file subpoenas.
Finding an attorney who can handle a narcissist can be as simple as asking them about it. Ones who can readily talk of their experience could likely be a better fit. Attorneys who may have little to no experience or who have difficulty answering basic questions are likely not appropriate to represent one’s case.
While this vetting can be crucial, it can also be important to make a selection quickly. That way the narcissist in one’s life knows right away that one is not playing games, and legal professionals can get a head start on their work.
The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.