Understandably, few clients relish the prospect of going to court to settle their divorce. Walking into a courtroom is stressful, expensive, and a judge will determine the outcome rather than the two sides reaching a private agreement that both you and your ex-wife can live with – even if neither of you are totally “happy” with the outcome.
We work very hard to find a way to achieve an equitable settlement of the various financial, property, support and custody issues with your wife. This is why only about five percent of divorce cases end up in family court. Your wife probably doesn’t want to go to court, either.
That is, unless a man or a father in New Jersey is divorcing a narcissist or if she shows even a few of the symptoms of people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. In fact, we’ve written extensively on this blog about the problems men face when divorcing a narcissist. If marrying and living with a narcissistic woman is a bad dream, going into court against her is likely to be a nightmare. To help New Jersey men and fathers contemplating or starting the divorce process with a woman who shows signs of being a narcissist, here are seven things to keep in mind as your court date looms.
She is a game player. Maintaining power and keeping you off balance is what she did throughout the marriage, so she won’t change simply because the setting is now a courtroom. She’s likely to file endless motions, make false allegations about your inadequate or incompetent parenting, or even allege abuse. It is an attempt to wear you down.
Her only goal is to “win.” Coming out equal isn’t an option for a narcissistic person; she must win and you must lose. Being proven correct is her objective and she’ll do whatever it takes to meet that need of hers. For many narcissists, truth is optional and she may even ask “Why are you doing this to me?”
She will insist you give in. Their entire outlook on the world is based on beating other people – especially you since you are standing up for what you want. She needs a symbolic trophy and even in court will try pulling approaches out of her bag of tricks in an attempt to prevail. I’ve seen a narcissistic wife wink at her husband during a trial and flirt with him in the hallway during a recess in an effort to get him to say “Oh, alright.”
She’ll refuse to negotiate or settle. Time is used as a weapon against men and fathers getting a divorce. She knows the longer she can drag out the process, the easier you will be to manipulate. She is likely to make low-ball offers, propose an offer that is objectionable on its face, or take our proposal and try to double or triple it as a counteroffer. She may not respond to something we propose on your behalf because she sees delaying as a bargaining chip to use in the future. Don’t expect good faith dealings with her.
Everything in her world is black and white, and you’re all “black.” She will throw everything she can against the wall hoping something will stick. Do not be surprised – or dismayed – if she makes outrageous allegations against you in documents she files, in her testimony at trial, on social media and with your friends. Getting her version of the story out there is part of her effort to pollute the waters and boost her standing by damaging yours.
Remember to keep copies of everything. This is especially true of money you spend on things for your children or paying your share of outstanding bills and loans. A collection of receipts avoids “she said/he said” arguments in court where a judge has to decide who to believe. Having a paper trail will let a judge see for themselves her true character.
Stay calm. Don’t give in to your anger and frustration by sending intemperate texts or emails, or posting comments on social media. Don’t be drawn into her game-playing and remind yourself that as good as it may feel to send her an email telling her your true feelings, it is likely to be used by her as evidence at your trial.
Keep Your Long-Term Goals in Mind When Facing a Narcissistic Spouse
I know it is hard to think of this while you are being hit with a barrage of her negativity, but she is marginalizing herself while you stay focused on your next, correct step in the process. I also am aware that the damage done to you and your finances by having to divorce a narcissist is very real. Even worse, if you are a New Jersey father divorcing a narcissist the divorce may take a horrid toll on your children’s feelings of security and trust. But the more prepared you are, the stronger you will emerge from the entire divorce process.
Also, there is help available. We can refer you to trained and experienced therapists who will work with you on the various feelings and emotions you’re dealing with. The Micklin Law Group also sponsors the Divorce and Custody Support Group for men and fathers in New Jersey. Many dads as well as men without children find it a helpful, supportive group and you do not need to be a client to participate.
If you or a man or dad you know in New Jersey is contemplating divorcing a narcissistic woman,, feel free to call me or any of our firm’s divorce lawyers for men and fathers in New Jersey at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620. You can also contact us online.