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.
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