Congratulations! You’ve made a very wise choice by divorcing a spouse who’s a narcissist. Life is too short to spend your time with an abusive spouse. Expect that your spouse might try to make the divorce as painful as possible and expect us to strongly defend your rights and ensure you’re treated fairly by the court no matter what.

Here in Bucks and Montgomery counties, the attorneys at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., could take many approaches to your divorce. We will work with you to develop the right strategy, which is especially important when dealing with a spouse who will do all they can to make your life difficult. Contact us today so we can discuss your situation and share how we can help.

What is a Narcissist? 

Narcissistic personality disorder, reports the Mayo Clinic, is a condition where the person has an exaggerated sense of their importance, a need for attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. The person has fragile self-esteem and is very sensitive to the slightest criticism.

The person may:

  • Become angry and feel slighted if they don’t get special treatment
  • Have severe problems with relationships
  • Show rage or contempt and belittle another person to keep an appearance of superiority
  • Have difficulty with or be unable to regulate their emotions and behavior
  • Be unable to deal with stress and adapt to change
  • Feel depressed when they are imperfect
  • Feel insecure, ashamed, vulnerable, and humiliated

How Did I Stay Married to a Narcissist?

Every relationship is unique. Your spouse fulfilled whatever wants and needs you had until the point you had enough of their negative traits and behaviors. Narcissists can be charismatic, charming, and fascinating early in a relationship and whenever they want to turn on the charm. They can be popular for a time until friends and co-workers see their other side. Maintaining long-term relationships can be a challenge for them, reports an article in Psychology Today.

Narcissists tend to play mind games to exert power over their spouses and reinforce their independence. They can be very good at maintaining an emotional distance but engage more deeply when they feel they have something to gain. A narcissist may have many short-term relationships (in which they exploit the other person) but be incapable of what’s needed for a successful long-term relationship – intimacy and emotional connection.

How May Narcissism Impact a Divorce? 

Another Psychology Today article warns those divorcing a narcissist of what may lie ahead:

1. He or she must “win” and be proven “right”

They will see themselves as victims, no matter the facts to the contrary, and may have little or no interest in negotiating a settlement. If there are negotiations, expect “low ball” offers, stalling, and a lack of good faith. Your spouse may want a trial to use the courtroom as their stage where they can tell the story of how abused they are and how evil you are.

You may face a “scorched earth” strategy to satisfy your spouse’s need for revenge. While most parties will avoid outrageous claims and stunts because it may harm the couple’s children or others might react negatively, that’s not true of narcissists because they don’t care how others feel. They just want to win, no matter the cost.

2. Your spouse wants you to give up

Narcissists love games and winning because it’s one of the few things that make them feel good. A symbolic trophy may be your giving in to their demands. Many of them will be petty, so it may be worth small sacrifices to move the process forward.

3. As many games as possible will be played

Studies show narcissists maintain power in relationships by keeping others off balance. If they have the resources and a cooperative attorney, there could be many court filings, and your spouse could be a charmer in the courtroom. Expect obstruction, chaos, and a desire to drive up your costs as much as possible, including disputes and litigation after your divorce is final.

4. A trial will make your spouse feel powerful

As bad as they are at maintaining them, narcissists need relationships to feed their needs. Your relationship will continue as the divorce drags on. Expect lies and negative information to hurt you and to make themselves look superior. Your spouse may rather be hated than have you feel indifferent.

Get the Help You Need From an Attorney You Can Trust

Over the years we’ve dealt with many narcissist spouses. We know how they treat our clients and the divorce process. Part of our strategy to protect your rights and interests is to be proactive and strongly discourage the game-playing and abuse that can make a bad divorce situation worse. We will deal with your spouse as much as possible, so you won’t have to.

If you have any questions about divorce or need legal representation, call our office at (215) 608-1867 or book a consultation online now. We can speak over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in one of our offices in Doylestown or Langhorne.

A child’s education has lifelong effects. If you’re divorced or separated from the other parent, you may not agree on how to handle your child’s education. You must resolve this issue between yourselves with the help of an attorney, or a judge in Bucks or Montgomery County may need to make the decision.

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., is a team of lawyers and staff in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have significant family law experience and have worked hard to build a law firm that can address your child custody needs, including disputes over your child’s education. If you have any questions or need help, call us at (215) 608-1867, book a free consultation online now, or contact us by email.

Parents usually make educational decisions about their kids. If parents are divorced or never married and had their parental rights formalized in court, a judge decided who has legal custody. This includes the ability to make important decisions for the child regarding such issues as education. In most cases, legal custody is shared by both parents. In relatively rare cases, a parent may give up their parental rights, or a judge decides it is not in the child’s best interests for a parent to have any legal custody.

Educational Issues That Can Split the Two Parents

If the two of you agree on issues, it’s not a problem. But if your child’s life is complicated and as more issues come up, there are more opportunities for disagreement:

  • Your child may have learning disabilities or other special needs. Your child will need more help from his or her school, but the school may not want to provide it. Parents may disagree on whether the child should attend another school or get private tutoring.
  • Your child may be gifted and have their own needs to be successful. Your child’s learning opportunities and how hard they should be pushed to excel can lead to disputes.
  • There can be public, private, and religious schools in the area. One parent may prefer one, the other parent may want the child to go to another.
  • Education can be part of a dispute when one parent wants the child to move with them away from the area. The child would attend a new school and the other parent may believe that is not in the child’s best interests because their education and friendships would be disrupted.
  • An athletically gifted child can present challenges. A parent may want the child to stay back a grade to perform better in sports at school. A private school may have a better athletic program, so one parent wants the child to transfer, while the other disagrees and doesn’t want to pay half the tuition.

If you can’t agree on important educational issues, Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can represent you to help negotiate a decision both parties can accept. If not, these issues can be litigated and eventually decided at a trial. But that’s an expensive, time-consuming option that should only be used for very serious issues critical to your child’s success in school.

Your Attitude Toward Your Child’s Education Can Impact Your Child Custody Order

If you’re thinking about divorce or considering getting a child custody order, or one is already in place, you must think about your child’s education and your role in it. One way to show you should keep or be given shared or sole legal custody is to be actively engaged in your child’s education. Communicate with the teacher, attend meetings, and actively address problems as they come up. If you’re not interested in your child’s schooling and are indifferent to their success, it can be used against you by the other parent. They might argue that you having legal custody of your child is not in the child’s best interest so it shouldn’t be granted or it should be taken away.

Get the Help You Need From an Attorney You Can Trust

If you have questions about child custody or need help enforcing or changing a custody order, call our office at (215) 608-1867 or book a consultation online now. We can speak over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in one of our offices in Doylestown or Langhorne.