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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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Whether you are divorcing a narcissist or are going to court with him for another go-round it’s really, really important to have a good lawyer and to do your homework.

When I filed for divorce I thought I couldn’t afford a lawyer to help me with the wording. I spent under $500 and filled out the paperwork myself. I did pretty good, don’t get me wrong, but some of the language that should have been in there wasn’t. A lawyer would have protected my interests much better than I did, obviously, and I would have saved myself $50,000.00 in debt that I had to pay off. A lawyer would have been much less than that!

Call around and ask people for recommendations for a good family law or divorce lawyer, whichever you need. Often the first consult is free and even that can be helpful. Plus, the lawyer may agree to work with you. My lawyer is one of the best (I think she is the best) in my area and her fees reflect that, but she has given me a ton of great advice over the past 4 years and she does a rockin’ job in court.

Lawyers can’t do everything though. You have to do your homework.

Save Everything

eMails, letters, Facebook messages, whatever you have that is associated with him just save it even if you don’t think it’s important. You never really know. I have saved everything from the night I found all of the sexts between the ex and his present wife (well before she was his present wife). The information has come in handy in so many ways from helping me find other information to proving his intent in various situations.

Be Your Own Detective

The Internet is a big public place that makes it much easier to find things out than in the past. If your ex isn’t paying child support but he is posting Facebook pictures from his Hawaiian vacation you might want to save those. I am pretty sure most Judges frown on not paying child support because you are taking an expensive vacation.

Use your mouse to right click on pictures, a menu will drop down and you just need to left click on the one that says, save image as. You can then save the image to a special folder. Oh – and do give it a special name that will make you smile whenever you see it. It’s a great coping strategy.

You can add bits and pieces of pages to a file with the snipping tool (isn’t that a pleasant name). Go to your start menu and search for snipping tool. It’s on most computers. You just click on the image to cut a rectangle and then use your cursor to make a rectangle go around the information you want, and then save it to your aptly named file.

You can get screenshots of an entire page, use the Google cache ability to get things he may have deleted, and all kinds of neat things. Put a Humphrey Bogart movie on in the background, get yourself a cup of coffee and really get into your new role as a PI.

Just a side note. It is hard not to be hurt by the things you find – especially at first. You might want to exchange that coffee for a bottle of wine.

Make a List

  • List every phone call by date, time, and subject then add notes about the conversation.
  • List every time he picks the kids up late or flakes out completely.
  • List every bill he is supposed to pay and doesn’t.

Are you getting the idea? Everything that happens can potentially be helpful if you have to go to court or during the actual divorce. Is his new wife harassing you? The judge will want to know that, too. Keep a record.

It Is Not Retribution

The thing for me is that I was all set to get past his betrayal, get past his moving out of state and taking no responsibility for the kids. I didn’t believe we would ever want to hang out together, but I was pretty determined to keep it low key. Once he made it clear he wasn’t interested in paying child support or helping with the kids (he took them to a church thing on Monday nights…sometimes) then I began to think perhaps I needed to look out for the kids and myself first.

I was right.

A narcissist doesn’t think they have to obey the law. They will continuously thumb their noses at the rules. If you are smart you’ll file away information every time and eventually a judge may be very interested in your files.

It’s hard, but you need to remember things will get better. Talking to other women who have been there is a great way to cover all your bases and learn from others’ experiences and mistakes. Join First Wives World today and become a part of a great group of women.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, user: J. Seliger 2

 

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16 comments

  • Comment Link kat Wednesday, 02 November 2016 18:33 posted by kat

    I am dealing with this right now. I filed a RFO (request for order) for a move away. My ex-narc 1st refused to show up to mediation (I went, they dismissed me), then didn't file his response until 30 minutes before court (you are supposed to do it 5 days ahead), then he lied in court that his parents are dead and he has no family, and then he failed to pay his portion of the judge-mandated fee for an evaluation (I paid the whole thing.) And...here's the kicker...the judge forgave every one of these. The judge wanted him to "have his day in court." I am sick to my stomach that the liar gets away with this, puts my kids in jeopardy (the 5 year kid plays by herself while daddy sleeps all day, she told me). And yet, there's nothing I can do.

    We have another court date in 2 weeks. I pray that my i's are dotted and I crossed all my t's. My kids deserve so much better. And so do I.

  • Comment Link irena Thursday, 25 August 2016 23:02 posted by irena

    Everything I'm reading hear is about my life with my soon [hopefully ] to be ex husband .I won't post any comments it's all the same , just want to ask does anybody know's a good lawyer for that type of case ,I'm in New York .He just won't stop lying even when i put a proof right in front of his nose .please help me i need to get away from him

  • Comment Link WJC Monday, 04 July 2016 03:07 posted by WJC

    I'm worn out. It's been since 2/11/15 when just 6 weeks after he said, "Let's get married on Christmas Eve", that out of the blue, he came up behind me and tried to kill me in three separate attacks. Since then, the Civil courts and his $12,000/month income afforded him the most vicious attorneys, and the three (3) different attorneys I hired to try to fight back and simply present the truth, failed miserably, receiving over $25,000 in retainers, and not getting me anything. Nothing. I lost my motor home, the bank accounts were cleaned out (against court order), he failed to pay me the interim support, as well as the non-modifiable final payment of support. He protested the meager separation of 'stuff', and took me to arbitration, then filed 'du novo after arbitration'. The two different interim judges were not kind, or interesting in spending a lot of time seeking the truth, or even allowing me to present my case, since at this point I was self-representing. It's been a nightmare for the past 17 months, and I'm not sure the Civil part is even over now. Surely he will come back at me again, and again, and again. The Criminal Trial has already seen two changes of District Attorneys, and I've been interrogated like I was the perpetrator. My entire life has been controlled by the impact of this bastard, who LOVES to hold court, and already had his next victim lined up by the second week of our marriage. His intent: To marry me just after my Mother passed away, we changed our Wills, then kill me in hopes of receiving my 'would-be' inheritance. He took his ex-wife to court for four years, costing her over $100,000 simply to defend herself and answer his allegations of theft, forgery, and more. He is doing the same thing to me, only I don't have $100,000 to pay retainers that guarantee no results. I'm worn out. I have been isolated from what little family and all friends, as I moved to Baja, Mexico simply for the low cost of living, and to be as far away from him as possible. I feel like I've become a very negative drama drain on what friends I have been able to stay connected to via the internet, and I'm sure they are tired of it. My feelings of inadequacy, self-worth, purpose, have been diminished to crumbs. I want it to end. I want some semblance of a life back. I want this man to die, so I can feel relief that he will stop coming after me. I know he won't stop stalking me until he is gone. He continues to covertly investigate the whereabouts of his ex. The judicial system is horrible, dysfunctional, and not supportive at all. They simply want to determine if I am credible, and could withstand a trial. They interrogate me like I am the attacker.

    I just want it to stop. I cry daily, my body aches from the stress, and I feel terribly isolated and alone. WHEN will this madness end. Will I EVER heal? I'm getting to the point that life is so painful, the only parts I enjoy are the brief 'bites' of time in the ocean with my little rescue dog, and when I sleep, if I am not having nightmares about this horrible journey. When I do have "good dreams", I awake only to realize the dreams were just that, and my reality is the nightmare... Our lives for the many years we were together, I was SO wrapped around making him happy, to build our "forever", then along came a baseball bat and simply shattered my world like a Christmas ornament on a string... I don't know how much longer I can keep going.......... =(

  • Comment Link Patricia Tuesday, 28 June 2016 07:35 posted by Patricia

    Yes I agree narcissis truly believe that they are above the law and even when the divorce is final because there was a divorce decree that was agreed upon and signed by a judge the narc may start out by paying his support payments however when he gets lucky enough to actually find someone that falls for his false image that only he dreams could be real then that's when you have to go back to court AGAIN and pay your lawyer AGAIN for something that you already paid for because the narc has decided to spend your support payment on fish hooking his other victim! Or to maintain his grandios lifestyle and false identity not even thinking about the financial hardship that court ordered payment so easily not made because no matter what we may think is the unthinkable he would never do that!! He will so never underestimate the narc remember he is incapable of EMPATHY period the person you thought loved you was only telling you things that you wanted to win his trophy And at the same Time still controlling you as you have to wait patiently for his support payment every month that does not come until you're finally kicked out of every place that you live and your bank account is frozen because of the credit card he decided not to pay and be assured that they will be your credit cards not his so your credit will be shot you probably will have a hard time getting a place to live you won't have money to get your car maintenance and fixed or even pay the insurance and if you were a stay at home mom plan on getting a new career and starting from scratch don't count on family law to make a narc fulfill his obligation unless you have the money to hire a lawyer because family law is so over loaded with cases from narcs I think like 95% of married couples handle their divorce between the two of them and the other are narcs that you have to go to court there is no other way

  • Comment Link David Wednesday, 06 April 2016 17:00 posted by David

    Thank you for this article and your site. You have refreshed my hope and it is good to know that i am not in this alone, though it is heart wrenching to know how prevalent this is and how many women and men have been so deeply wounded by the aftermath of being with a psychopathic personality. To all of you, I would like to say I am sorry and I empathize with your pain and struggle.
    I'm a guy who fell for the I "have cancer and am dying story" (which is actually the truth in part, she does have an inoperable brain tumor but has been stable the last five years, at least until now). And of course the follow-up " we are going to get married in a year any way so why not now". And after five months of defending her, putting up with her explosive temper and occasional shoulder punches (she is not a little girl), re-assuring her, loving her, serving her and trying to help her build her own self worth, placing her priorities first and being consumed by her needs and medical care and restoring her financial picture...

    yep, you got it, she splits and I face the wrath of her "friends", "legal authorities, court room appearances and restraining orders and defamation of character as I watch her lie in front of my two remaining friends (she has temporarily successfully ruined every other relationship and part of my life) who shake their heads as the legal machine just chews me up and spits me out all the while knowing the truth because they actually had spent hours every day with us.

    I could go into the rest of the details and what she is still doing but it would be unnecessarily depressing and quite frankly you have no doubt heard it before...

    So I have decided to do something else. With your permission, since I cannot do so by contacting her, I would like to leave a letter to my wife, here. Please bear with me.

    Dearest Sol,

    I have always known you were injured emotionally through childhood trauma and from some of the things you shared when I could discern some truth from fiction. I knew you were broken and damaged. Who hasn't been? You saw the super empathetic loving person in me you wanted to target that you needed so desperately. You hoped I would afford you respectability from my position in church and that my love would feed the deep need you have (one that would survive a marriage to you) as a Predatory Charismatic Narcissistic Sociopath. Yes, I know who you are. And I would have still done everything possible to truly help you.
    I believe God had called me to you for His purposes and I accepted that call and continue to do so even now. And that evening at Starbuck's when you asked if I felt the surge of energy between us and asked if we weren't destined to be soul mates---you most likely felt nothing since you were just playing your game to seduce me--- I truly felt the presence of God and was indeed filled three times with a pouring of supernatural unconditional love that remains today. What I felt was real. And remains. I guess He knew I was going to need it.
    Because I found out "the truth" about you and wanted to go with you for help, you called your lifetime friend and co-narcissist to pick you up and help destroy me. Because that is who you are and what you do. It is your nature and has been your pattern for over 25 years. And, yes, your past has been and continues to be revealed to me.
    But you have not succeeded. I am not destroyed. And I do not hate you. Actually, I still love you Sol. I don't love what you do. I don't love who you are. But because I have unconditional love for you, I love who you were created to be, should have been and could yet still be were God to grant and were you were to accept the miracle of a changed life. I pray for you daily and I yet have hope in this life and in the next.
    What you have perceived as my weak point and huge flaw, my unconditional love for you, God uses as my greatest strength. You should never underestimate the power of true love or a life dedicated to serving God and serving others. Poor you. You must have thought that was some sort of ruse or that I was only fooling myself and you could manipulate that area of my life as you have done to so many others. What a shock it must have been when you discovered you had the "real deal". That you had asked for a truly good honorable Christian man, and you actually had gotten one. I wonder what that moment of realization must have been like for you. Were you happy? Were you terrified? Confused? Or did you merely begin planning your "escape" from that point forward knowing it was only a matter of time before the truth of you would be revealed. Something I may never know. Funny, if you could have believed what you had seen first-hand all these months with me, you would have known I would have stood by you and supported you regardless of the fact you are a Narcissist. You would have been safe.
    Rather than destroying me, all of this drama and death and destruction you have brought to me, has caused me to grow, to learn, to help others and to work on new areas of interest and pursue degrees in them. And forced me to accept my full nature and path that I was destined to walk. Thank you for that. I will become a better, stronger, more empathetic person because of your "madness". I wish you could join me. But you can't can you. You can only move to your next target, your next short-lived thrill that never completely satisfies you. You’ve already moved on to the one you began soliciting the afternoon we were married. Yes, I know that too. And you will remain broken, feeling worthless and unloved, knowing you could be more if you would only choose to step out of your meager existence. And I want that so badly for you my wife even though you couldn't care less about it at this moment in time.
    And although I do dearly love you, I will no longer feed your illness. And I will take every ethical, moral and legal avenue open to me to stop you from inflicting more pain to others, upon yourself and if possible, to even get you the help you really need. You will inevitably see this in a different light; that I am attacking you and taking away your ability to feed upon an unsuspecting populace. You most likely will not see it as an act of love...for you cannot truly know love Sol. But I think whatever you do know of genuine love, if there is any small part of you left that can even momentarily see it, you have experienced with me.
    Yes, I DO LOVE YOU. Perhaps one day you will be healed and accept the truth. I am sorry your tumor has gotten worse and you have decided to counter-balance that by falling into deep depravity. Even now, I would still keep my promise to you and hold your hand and be there while you are dying (when that moment is truly the case)...Funny thing is, though you may want that, as things stand now, I can't give that to you can I. You made sure of that by your own hand when you placed restraining orders against me and manipulated the court system and law enforcement to do your bidding. But then, you didn't think this through very well, did you.
    I feel sorry for you. I pity you. You were twisted at an early age in a narcissistic family, taken advantage of by a step-father and you never finished developing. And though I understand and accept your warped childhood, the debilitating pain you go through with your tumor, migraines and host of other ailments; in truth, I know you have chosen this way of life. Your brain tumor lends legitimacy to your bad behavior and unethical activities and sufficiently allows people to overlook your predatory hunting and your dismissal of other human beings as mere nothings...and we write it off as part of your illness and that you can't help yourself. These are things which under other conditions might not be so easily tolerated, but given your tumor you have the perfect alibi to unleash your evil and exhibiting your wretchedness. Therefore, getting well, is not really in your best interest. So you will not choose to do so...and unless you are miraculously healed, you will choose death. And that grieves me.
    I will end this by simply saying I plan on keeping the commitment and covenant we made before God until He reveals otherwise to me. As your husband, I will love you, pray for you and do what I can. Not because you deserve it. Not because you have me fooled. Not because I think you will change (although I believe through God all things are possible). I will simply keep loving you in every way I thoughtfully and carefully can because God has asked me. I will love you in both Truth and Spirit. And I will speak the truth about you but temper it with a spirit of love. Because that is who I am.
    It is written to whom much has been given, much will be required. I promised I would do whatever I could, all that I can to love you and help you. Today, I choose to continue to love you and live out that commitment because God has been very good to me. Perhaps, one day, you may yet experience that unconditional love and joy. I pray you will.
    Your devoted husband, D.
    Thank you for your consideration and this site. May you each be blessed and continue to heal and thrive.

  • Comment Link Byron Wednesday, 30 March 2016 02:16 posted by Byron

    Reading this blog has been helpful, and gives me a little hope. Just one thing - I'm a man, and the woman I married - gave my whole life to - turns out to be the narcissist. So it's not just women who are getting burned. I trusted this woman and now she is lying and trying to use the court system to ruin my life while maintaining "the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed." Where do the men turn for help?

  • Comment Link Jo Sunday, 17 January 2016 06:09 posted by Jo

    Save me from narcissistic partner. We are in court.

  • Comment Link Lj  Smith Sunday, 27 December 2015 22:32 posted by Lj Smith

    I need help/advise
    my husband didn't pay mortgage. we lost the custom house we BUILT. we owe $41,000.00 to IRS. etc.
    then abandon me after I couldn't earn the high income anymore due to a disability
    I believe prostitutes, porn websites played a large part
    should I hire ( cant afford a lot) a PI I filed for divorce after he had been gone 3yrs
    there are other issues, but I don't feel comfortable typing them

  • Comment Link nohollaback Sunday, 12 October 2014 07:17 posted by nohollaback

    "He flies just under the radar", this is how I describe my narcissist wasband. We spent thousands of dollars & many meetings seeing a mediator. I finally just said I wasn't going any longer. Because we would sit there, he would counter act anything I wanted or said. The mediator would send us notes from the meetings, outlining what we had agreed to do. But nothing stuck! Then, I think he thought to save us money, & because I was still too emotional to let go, we saw a "divorce therapist". She tried working with us to sort things out, get us to talk about things, send us out to with our own list of things to be done. Which would have been great, had he followed through! I reapplied for divorce 2 years after originally filing. I wanted to have my lawyer just help me push my wasband to get our business assessed. That's all I needed to move forward, the mediator told us that, the therapist told us that & my lawyer told me that. This time when he didn't follow through with having the assessment done, we took him to court in contempt of court. Again to save money, he had some customer who is a lawyer - but not a family or divorce lawyer, giving him advise. That lawyer refused to show at court. 15 minutes before court started - in runs - a woman lawyer - who didn't know anything about our case, to stand up for my ex. It's so exasperating because THEY are the ones who wanted to get divorced, leave the family, get away from the wife & all other responsibilities. Then as the wife that was left - you have to basically divorce yourself. I've had to provide every piece of paper the lawyers have needed. I've basically done all that goes into getting divorced! But in the final separation agreement, because he will have to pay me over 3 years to buy me out of the business, I asked to have it written in somewhere, that if there are future problems with the agreement, that I have a third party of high authority to help me, if needed. They did just that for me, he sat there confused as to why this was being discussed & decided. But at least I know the law knows, I need backup & they will be helping. We go to court one last time next week. If you were to split me down the middle, you'd see one side of me tired, dragging & wilted/the other side is whooping it up doing a happy dance.

  • Comment Link Erin R Tuesday, 09 September 2014 16:01 posted by Erin R

    My ex is a narcissist. Our divorce took over 2 1/2 years with over 7 trips to court until the right judge finally put an end to the delay and manipulation of the courts. Ex spend over $150,000. My lawyer, saw the waste and reefused the play the games..but still left me with $40,000 in expenses. Close to $200,000 and I am scraping money to pay for "our" kids' college. Ex sold the college plans to pay for court and has nothing to give for kids' future.

    I agree about finding a good lawyer. Find one that understands the law, the local system and is unafraid to challenge dirty, unethical and bullying tactics. My first lawyer gave in and I found myself loosing my kids, my house and still costing me. My ex fed on the success she was having in court - one win would bring on another subpeona to ask for more, and so on. My second lawyer understood the mindset of the opposition and chose the legal but aggressive approach. As we won my life and family back the other lawyer fought harder, looking for the judge to favororably hear their case, and eventually crossed the line with the wrong judge.

    Since the divorce, my ex and the same lawyer continue to play games with the court - filing unwarranted motions, subpeoning for documents readily available and seeking the judge that will accept their cries of unfairness. On the advice of my second lawyer, I am not taking an attorney into this fight. My lawyer saw that my ex's attorney wanted the fight in front of an audience, wanted to challenge the system and no amount of money or punishment by the court would curb their narcissism. Attorney vs attorney would only encourage the fight. Ex's attorney has convinced my ex to carry on the fight even after multiple judges have dismissed their cases or ruled against them. Ex's attorney continues to get paid and both are rejuvinated by courtroom theatrics and the challenge to convince the judge of an infraction that, even if they win, would return far less than the cost of the court. No cost to me other than lost work and time.

    In this process, ex and attorney have been just short of breaking the law - motions filed based on heresay, altered documents, and mis-quotes; meeting with judge prior to my on-time arrival in court; returning phone calls at 2am but not saying anything (caller id works) or when it is well known I am driving with "our" kids; cancelling or changing doctor's appointments that I am taking our child to without telling me; sending child support checks to the neighbor's address and so on.

    The divorce was one thing but I know that nothing will change their tactics so I keep my sanity and money by educating and representing myself. I do have a lawyer friend I refer to but he can't represent me in court. And since i put the interests of my kids first, I find that I am smarter than both of them.

  • Comment Link anita kitchens Thursday, 04 September 2014 23:40 posted by anita kitchens

    my husband left me the night my son burned to death in house fire he laughed and he was beyond cruel , he has destroyed me financially and he has not given me any kind of support hes very abusive mentally physically emotionally and i have hospital bills ,he picked this time to abandon me i have lost my home,cars but most of all i lost my baby boy and i dont know if my husband started the fire ,he threaten to burn down my exs house and family and friends but this place we live in lets men get away with murder and they are all about money i live in Washita county Oklahoma,the saying goes if you want to get away with murder just do it in Washita county Oklahoma, my husband wants me to commit suicide he has paid people to steal all memory cards phones and most of my proof of his demonic behavior , i want to file chargers for abandonment ,adultery and bigamy i have proof and there is witnesses i never knew someone could be so cruel but the man that forced me into marriage took everything from me cant keep getting away with it im number 4 wife , his work said he went to Vegas and got married to number 5 , he married me when he was still married to number 2 i didn't know it until 2 months afterward please what can i do to put him in jail or make him pay for all the hospital, satellite bills,phones he had me to get in my name a two months or less before he left me he was cheating and i ask for truth decency but in my time of need he left never came home and blames me threatens me with cops lies on me and all i want is the truth about him to come out he lied about war he lied about money women and he has hurt me and i didnt even want to marry him, but i was true kissed his ass and he treated me like i was a piece of shit, i need help to make him pay for his lies abuse or at least to stop him from hurting more women he is a cereal merrier and then he leaves after doing a woman in financially mentally physically and he hurts everyone hes around , and to make him buy me another car i had one before him and he made sure i lost everything plus ive lost my will to live please help someone

  • Comment Link NicoleVM Monday, 25 August 2014 20:17 posted by NicoleVM

    There is an organization here that provides free legal services (local attorneys donate their time) to low-income residents, and since my narcissistic ex is all about free, once he finally accepted I was divorcing him he agreed to the steps required, including working out the parenting plan with the provided mediator. We each had a pro bono attorney as well that represented us during the actual court hearing. My lawyer was AMAZING, God-sent, and actually still provides me with her services when I need them. She protected me from his attempts to hurt me and the kids and is the only reason he does most of the things he's supposed to do--he knows that she is just an email away. Always check out programs your community has to offer before plunking down a huge retainer!!

  • Comment Link Nim Sunday, 13 July 2014 13:29 posted by Nim

    Another thing when going through a divorce with a narcissist,.....take all personal and dear pictures, photo albums, scrapbooks from your past, jewelry that means much to you from your past, etc.......a narcissist will try to hurt you anyway he can, and taking these could be one of them! So be sure to get these things out of the house and hidden with a family member or friend! Preferrably remove them BEFORE the drama of the divorce starts!

  • Comment Link SharP Sunday, 13 July 2014 01:22 posted by SharP

    I used an expensive lawyer for the divorce and an inexpensive lawyer for enforcing the rules of the divorce (ex. He didn't pay for half of medical expense as the court had ruled). Maintaining the rules is far less expensive than making them. Just a thought.

  • Comment Link Debbie L. Friday, 11 July 2014 05:13 posted by Debbie L.

    Thank you!! This is a very timely article for me!!!! I want you to know how much I appreciate your wisdom...it's really helping me through a tough time!!!

  • Comment Link Lou Lou Friday, 11 July 2014 04:45 posted by Lou Lou

    Spending money on a lawyer doesn't always help. If your lawyer doesn't specialise in dealing with a combative(narcissistic) ex and you don't present well (which is likely if you've been under attack from the narcissistic ex - you're stressed, depressed, maybe crying a lot, shake, on antidepressant drugs that stop you thinking clearly, whatever...) then your lawyer might assume you have a weak case anyway, and not fight for you the way you expected.

    Also, one dirty trick you are vulnerable to if you have a lawyer is uncontrollable legal costs: your ex can blow out your legal bill by bombarding your lawyer with correspondence and legal notices. There is nothing you can do to stop this. You can seek costs, but in Western Australia at least the court's policy is to reject costs claims (and you can't seek costs at all if your ex is self-represented).

    If you're broke, your lawyer will know it. If they're nice, they'll ignore correspondence-warfare from your ex, but then your lawyer may miss seeing something important, or your ex may get frustrated and escalate by dragging you into a new court hearing with an accusation of non-compliance or non-cooperation. If your lawyer is not 'nice' they might 'deprioritise' your case, or refuse to act for you at all unless you maintain a minimum deposit balance in their trust account.

    In my case, having legal representation was valuable because the lawyer 'ran interference' between me and the ex. And I got a better outcome than if I'd tried to negotiate an out-of-court settlement by myself. But I would have been financially and timewise better off going to court and representing myself.


    If you're short on money, but still confident enough to run your own case, then another option is to hire a lawyer as a 'consultant' rather than as your representative. You still self-represent, but you pay a lawyer to check what you've written and give you feedback or advice. Knowing what I know now, this is what I would have done.

    Also, re saving records of everything, two other bits of advice/feedback:

    1. "Use your mouse to right click on pictures..." Don't just save pictures! Save the whole webpage, to give you dates and context! A private photo is one thing, but a FB page bragging about a glorious holiday or an $80K car has extra value. You can do a screen capture to save a picture of your screen, or Microsoft has a Snipping Tool to do similar, or there are browser plugins that can save the whole page (something like the Scrapbook plugin in Firefox). Then if your ex comments on a picture of themself passed out in their hallway with shaving cream and a dick drawn on their face, you have the context that this was a night they had the kids and they're not even ashamed. Or something like that.

    2. Save everything, and show the court as much as you can... but don't complain about everything in your affadavits. The magistrate doesn't have time or patience for whinging about how rude or uncooperative your ex is. But if a legally important text happens to be surrounded by awful texts in your text log annexure, the magistrate will probably notice the pattern of behaviour.

    Hope that made sense. It's a good article you wrote, but lawyers don't necessarily make things better for you... :)