How To Prepare When You Plan To Divorce A Narcissist In California?
“Narcissistic personality disorder” is a mental condition in which the individual has an exaggerated sense of their own importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a deep need for excessive attention and validation from others. They are almost always the smartest person in the room, and they will not accept advice or criticism from anyone, even often professionals who are considered experts in their field. Because of their exaggerated sense of self-worth and lack of empathy for their spouse, negotiating with a true Narcissist in the process of a divorce is next to impossible.
There is nothing wrong with having self-confidence or a recognition of your own strengths. But narcissism is something else. It is an extreme self-obsession that makes the individual crave an unhealthy amount of attention and admiration. This inflated sense of self-worth can damage relationships, making people around the narcissist feel insecure, inadequate, and undermined. As a result of the narcissistic tendencies, your narcissist is likely to lie about his/her income, they will hide documents you need for your divorce process making your divorce process harder, more complicated and take longer than the average divorce. You need to do a little planning ahead.
If you suspect your partner/spouse is a narcissist or has narcissist tendencies, it means they have likely displayed the following personality traits:
- Control, both physical and financial/Abuse
- Limited or no close relationships (even with their spouse and children)
- Unreasonable expectations
- Fantasies about power, success, or love
- High resistance to any kind of criticism
If you have made the final decision to divorce your narcissistic spouse, the process ahead will be more challenging than a typical divorce case in California.
Change Passwords and Codes Today!
If your spouse knows your email or cell phone pass-codes, change them now. First of all, as much as your spouse may have led you to believe, it is NOT normal for your spouse to know your email passwords. If they forced you to tell them your passwords, they don’t trust you and this is a HUGE red flag. Do not change any passwords for joint accounts, only your own accounts.
You Will Need Money!
Start setting up your finances now. You will want a separate bank account. You will need credit cards in your own name. You may need to apply for new credit cards now.
When you file and serve a divorce against a true Narcissist, or even a person with Narcissistic tendencies, they often empty the bank accounts of all available funds, they often cancel, or otherwise put restrictions or limits on all credit cards. Also, watch THEIR finances, they often start (if they haven’t already) hiding money or income. I know you think you know your Narcissist, but I assure you, they can be more ruthless than ever in a divorce. Be ready!
State Collecting Documents Now!
If you file for divorce, documents and information equate to actual dollar values. And, if you file for divorce, you will need all the financial documents you can put your hands on. Grab them, you will thank me later for saving you time, effort, anger, frustration and as much as thousands of dollars trying to locate the documents and the information on those documents. You will need documents such as years’ worth of bank statement, credit card statements, retirement statements, etc. YES, I mean YEARS! Get several years’ worth of all of financial documents. Start collecting all document (or an actual copy of the document) for everything that is related to all; Income, Asset, Expenses, Debts, and any type or property, including personal property such as cars, jewelry, and of course real estate.
Do NOT keep those documents in the house, in the garage, in your car, in your purse or anywhere else your spouse has access to. Put them in a box, or two, or 6! And keep those documents at your work, at your friend’s house or some other location away from your house and spouse. Trust me, if you keep them in your attic or your trunk, your spouse will find them and the jig is up!
Photograph or Move valuable Items to Your Control!
If you have a Safe Deposit Box or a Safe, whatever is in there WILL disappear. I am not being overly dramatic. I have a case where the husband took a million dollars’ worth of gold coins the family had been purchasing for 30 years and acted like they never existed. No receipts were ever kept and nobody ever even took a photo of them. They were off in the wind. I had another case where the husband took about $100,000 cash from the safe, but it was too late, my client had already documented it with photos, including a newspaper showing the date that the money existed just weeks before he said the money didn’t exist. The judge charged him with taking all that money.
If you take the items BEFORE you file for divorce and pout them somewhere safe for later distribution, you will thank me later.
You need to start documenting your relationship. Do this on your phone (after changing passwords and codes) Before you bring up the subject of divorce with your spouse or announce it to the family, start getting things in order. If your spouse regularly subjects you to abuse or contempt, record it with your phone the next time it happens and tell others.
Keep track of as many important moments, decisions, or events as you can. A narcissistic spouse almost always makes false allegations against the other spouse; the detailed documentation will help you present a solid case and defend yourself, and witnesses to actual events are incredibly valuable.
Hire A Capable Divorce Attorney
I do apologize for sounding so defeatist in all the above paragraphs. It’s not a foregone conclusion that divorcing a narcissist will be an extremely lengthy and complex process due to their personality traits. But it is smart to prepare yourself for the worst. Warn all of your loved ones, family members, friends, boss, and coworkers that your spouse may start spreading false information about you.
A divorce attorney can handle all communication with your spouse on your behalf, minimizing the amount of stress and conflict. If the attorney is smart and has your best interest at heart, they can expose the truth about your spouse’s abusive behavior and help you get divorced as fast and inexpensively as possible.
An experienced Family Law attorney should be hired early, to help you plan for your divorce BEFORE you actually file your divorce.
Warn Your Family, Friends and Employer.
If your spouse has controlling or violent tendencies, warn the people around you that your spouse may take severe measures to hurt you during the divorce proceedings. Keep in mind that people with a narcissistic personality are extremely difficult (impossible even) to reason with. So, trying them to agree with you on child custody, property division, and other matters can seem hopeless without professional help.
Lastly – Get Informed!
Take a little more time to learn everything you can about the narcissistic personality disorder, even if your spouse is an undiagnosed narcissist. This will help you get better prepared for what is likely to come. There is a ton of information on the internet. There are brilliant books, articles, and scientific studies online that shed a lot of light on narcissism.
Take the time, it will help you manage and navigate your way through the divorce process.