How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Dealing with sociopaths in court › How can I win custody battle with ex (any tips?)
May 10, 2019 at 3:08 pm #52049makovicParticipant
I’m currently going through a very contentious divorce with a sociopath and because he won’t agree to anything we’re going to court in June. We have three children together and he’s fighting me for the kids saying that I’m crazy because I react to all of his lies. I’m very afraid the judge will believe all of his lies. Has anyone else been through a divorce and custody battle with a sociopath. Do you have any advice at all? I’m desperate. Thanks!
May 10, 2019 at 3:38 pm #52050slimoneParticipant
Look down below at the Blog Catagories. There are articles about divorce, co-parenting, the legal system, etc. It could be very useful for you.
May 13, 2019 at 8:08 am #52292Donna AndersenKeymaster
Macovic – I am so sorry for your experience. Lovefraud does have some information and webinars that may help you. Check them out:
May 16, 2019 at 6:56 pm #52451SunnygalParticipant
The book One Mom’s Battle by Tina Swithin can also be helpful.
May 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm #52472CynthiaSParticipant
– Read and follow instructions for BIFF communications. See the book BIFF by Bill Eddy.
– Why? Your ex hopes to exploit and twist your communications as evidence in his favor in court. Thus, forcing your ex to communicate only via email, and then responding in BIFF (brief, informative, firm, and fair, i.e., not impulsive and emotional) will curtail the ex’s games. The ex will continue to try; so stay on your game.
– Identify experts for your case: personal therapist for you such as a DV expert (who will not speak in court but rather speak to the custody evaluator), therapist for your children (who will not speak in court, rather will influence the CE), custody evaluators (find out their reputations and trust your gut on which CE’s are narcissists who are easily manipulated by other narcissists), consider a DV expert for you only who will add weight to the CE’s findings or influence the CE, and other expert(s) if needed for your case such as forensic accounting expert or medical expert
– Why? Judges prefer to rely on experts when making decisions, i.e., they defer to experts
– Why? 1) Some say judges are lazy or are too busy to dig into details themselves, 2) significantly, judges don’t want their cases headed to appeal which happens less when judges reply on expert opinion
– Be aware of the ex badmouthing/undermining you and the kids with teachers, principal, doctors, therapists.
– Follow doctor’s orders where you can. In fact, it’s best if the pediatrician is the one recommending counseling for your kids rather than you. The ex will likely oppose; however, judges rarely refuse doctor’s orders. Thus, be sure the pediatrician’s clinical notes include child’s stress behaviors and reasons for stress.
– Be organized. Without diagnosing the ex, gather repeated examples of bad behavior by category, e.g., sense of superiority, vengefulness, refusal to cooperate, and provide this binder to the mental health expert in your case. Per Bill Eddy, by showing a pattern of bad behavior, you establish that such behavior was not a one off and court intervention is necessary to prevent future repeated behavior. For your court pleadings, Bill Eddy recommends sharing only a couple categories (3-4) whereas you can provide more categories to the mental health professional.
– Demonstrate your cooperation (which will contrast your ex’s): regular school or health updates, willingness to hear the ex’s request and accommodate where appropriate (not breaking personal boundaries)
– Have an attorney that listens to you
– Have an attorney that the judge listens to. that is, some judges regularly defer to their preferred attorney to speak first and share what is going on in the case over the less experienced/solo practitioner/less preferred attorney.
– Have an attorney who is experienced with and knows your judge. And listen to this attorney when he/she explains that this judge doesn’t like X or Y claims/filings.
– One friend had the financial means to hire the authors of all the key books for a consultation. While she was stuck w/ 50/50 shared custody, all of her ex’s other shenanigans and oppositions got shut down.
– Be realistic about what a “win” is. Some of us “win” when just trying to keep our children physically safe and to have mentally health supports/activities around them.
– Make sure your attorney pushes back on delay tactics by the other side. You will be financially better off and able to mentally move on better once the court has made orders.
– Don’t put your head in the sand or otherwise isolate yourself. Find out which group of friends will stick with you through this. Remember, they may want to help and not know how. Ask for help summarizing Discovery financial documents or such.
– Be around people who remind you of the truth — you are smart, capable, and worth loving.
I look forward to others adding on to my list.
Good luck to us all.
August 18, 2021 at 2:23 pm #66340becomingstrongParticipant
I’m chiming in here after many years. It is my opinion that when accessing custody two things need to be answered: 1. What will your children tell the judge about you and your spouse when they are interviewed and 2. Is your judge fair. If the answer to the first question is I don’t know. Then ask them. By the way, I’ve seen judges interview children as young as five years old in chambers. If the answer is your children will lie about you or tell the judge “I love both parents equally.” Then I would not fight for sole custody. It is my opinion you will lose this and will spend all kinds of money and time on the hamster wheel and possibly jail time for contempt. If your judge is not fair and will not recuse themselves it won’t matter what your children say you will lose that one. One thing we must consider when divorcing a sociopath is they will do all they can to stop you from getting what they think you want. The only thing you can bank on getting when you file for divorce is a divorce. You are not assured custody. Additionally, you cannot save children who do not want to be saved. This may sound harsh but if you aren’t prepared to lose custody think twice about filing for divorce.
January 11, 2022 at 1:37 am #67086Larissa21Participant
Where can you find financial help? Do any domestic violence shelters offer financial assistance or non profits? I have to pay an attorney and pay rent, can’t afford both and support five children. The abuse was terrible- grateful I got out when I did but the financial stomach ulcers are taking their toll.
January 11, 2022 at 6:08 am #67087Donna AndersenKeymaster
Larissa21 – financial help for a divorce may be hard to find. (It may be easier to find financial help for rent.) But if it is available, it would be local assistance, because divorce cases are local. So you can check with your local domestic violence agency. If there is a law school where you live there may be a clinic run by students.
Many mothers have successfully represented themselves without an attorney. It is possible to do this, but you must educate yourself about the law and what is required. You will need to know how to file documents, how to meet deadlines, what is permitted and what is not.
It may sound daunting, but this may actually be your best option. Why? Because your divorce may not be the end – your ex may continue the court battle for years. And that means ongoing attorney bills.
You may find some helpful info at the California Protective Parents Association
- This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Donna Andersen.
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