Phone: 301-738-7770
Steven J. Gaba
Phone: 301-738-7770

Divorce strategies: When your spouse is a narcissist

Divorce can be a challenge, even in the best of scenarios. When that process is complicated by a personality disorder, the situation can become incredibly complicated and stressful. While many Maryland spouses throw around terms such as 'sadistic,' 'bi-polar,' and 'narcissist,' in reality these are serious psychiatric conditions that have become integrated into our lexicon. When a condition such as narcissism truly exists within a divorcing couple, the divorce process can become significantly more difficult for the other partner.

Narcissistic spouses tend to display staggering levels of manipulation and self-centered behavior. He or she is often unable to empathize with others, and will have a difficult time working in a collaborative manner to end the marriage. Narcissists also tend to have an exaggerated sense of entitlement, and often cannot believe that the other spouse feels that he or she should gain anything in the split.

In divorce, this can translate into a wide range of difficulties. It can be hard to obtain financial documents from such an individual, since he or she may feel that no one else has the right to access this information. In addition, a narcissist will often go against competent legal advice, and can make a mess of an otherwise orderly court proceeding.

When dealing with a spouse who seems to exhibit many of these tendencies, the best approach involves careful preparation before a Maryland divorce is filed. Be sure to have plenty of cash on hand in case access to shared accounts is denied. Have all necessary paperwork together in order to minimize having to ask for it once the process has begun. In addition, consider putting together a divorce team that can support you throughout the process, including an attorney, therapist and financial planner as needed. Having help can ensure that the proper decisions are made and that any and all issues are handled quickly and effectively.

Source: Forbes, "Financial Strategies for Divorcing A Narcissist," Jeff Landers, Dec. 11, 2012

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