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Divorcing the Narcissist

Divorcing the Narcissist

You may have heard of high conflict divorces where one partner refuses to collaborate, compromise or communicate with the other partner in order to amicably separate. This could have been because of a lack of trust from that partner or they are maintaining high levels of anger for how the relationship ended. As a result, not only are difficult divorces unquestionably destructive on the emotional toll of the family but it also means that it will most probably be a lengthy and expensive divorce process.

However, there is another contributor to why a high-conflict divorce may occur and that is narcissism. A narcissist is someone who is excessively self-involved to the degree that it makes them disregard the needs and feelings of those around them. When presented with divorce, narcissists treat it as a competition rather than having to negotiate the best solution for both partners and the children, and the main goal is most often to walk away from the divorce feeling like they have won something or have successfully hurt you.

Of course, there are varying types of narcissists and in particular, the most common type of narcissists in family law may openly refuse to provide financial records, refuse to cooperate with the other partner and their legal team, blame others for their poor behaviour or actions and/or obstruct or ignore court orders. There are also covert narcissists which may be harder to spot. A covert narcissist, unlike their overt counterparts, may engage in less aggressive, head-on conflict by quietly spreading rumours designed to break down your barriers and get you to give in to their demands.

Unfortunately, children are typically not excluded from the consequences arising from the narcissistic partner’s actions. A narcissists lack of empathy for others often translates to the children and accordingly, they are unable to consider what is in the best interests of the children and they are only focused on getting the settlement they want. In some cases, they may paint themselves as a poverty-stricken and helpless single parent who is supposedly providing all the necessary care and support for the children but on the other hand, they are silently attacking the character of the other parent, may withhold the other parent’s time with the children or blame the other parent for the lack of joint assets. They may also manipulate the children into believing the actions of the other parent are wrongful and the activities the children take part in during their time with the other parent are not enjoyable and in turn, allows the child to formulate a negative perception of that parent.

What to do when divorcing a narcissist in Australia

When a narcissist is faced with divorce, they may begin to escalate to intimidating, gaslighting or manipulating you if they have not begun to done so already. It is accordingly extremely pertinent that you secure a strong legal team from the beginning of your divorce to advise and support you through defending your rights inside and outside of court.

Throughout the years, our Family and Divorce Lawyers at Chatswood Family Lawyers have accrued extensive knowledge and experience in identifying and dealing with clients with narcissistic partners. Most notably, our Family Lawyers recognise that financial abuse is the common concern when divorcing a narcissistic partner including how the narcissists may attempt to destroy their partner’s credit, fabricate, hide or withhold important financial and legal documents and intentionally draw out the divorce process in order to increase the partner’s legal costs. In matters relating to children, our child custody lawyers can protect yourself and your children as they understand the methods used by narcissistic partners to manipulate the children to help achieve what they want.


If you are considering divorcing your narcissistic partner, contact our office today by calling (02) 9412 4500, online or by email at to learn how we can help you through this difficult time.