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Child Custody with a Narcissist

child custody with a narcissist

Narcissist's & Child Custody Evaluations

Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder “exhibit a lack of ability to empathize with others and an inflated sense of self-importance.” Note that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a spectrum disorder, so these characteristics can vary in an individual as a result.

What does this mean for your children? How may they be affected by a narcissistic parent?

We are sure that we’re not the only ones hearing the term “narcissist” used on a frequent basis, especially related to divorce. But let's review what it means in terms of child custody

The Effects a Narcissistic Parent Parent Can Have on a Child

In an article, “How Narcissistic Parenting Affects Children,” Karyl McBride, Ph.D lists the following as just a few potential effects:

• The child won’t feel heard or seen
• The child’s feelings and reality will not be acknowledged
• The child will be treated like an accessory to the parent, rather than a person
• The child will be more valued for what they do (usually for the parent) than for who they are as a person
• The child will be taught to keep secrets to protect the parent and the family
• The child will feel emotionally empty and not nurtured
• The child will learn not to trust others
• The child will feel used and manipulated
• The child will be there for the parent, rather than the other way around, as it should be
• The child’s emotional development will be stunted
• The child will feel criticized and judged, rather than accepted and loved

Options for Co-parenting with Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

From a mental health standpoint, therapy is most important for your children to learn the necessary assertiveness skills they will need to ensure that their feelings are being properly acknowledged by the narcissistic parent. It would be recommended to find a therapist with particular expertise in this area so the professional is not blinded by the narcissist, who is typically charming and manipulative.

What are your Legal Options in a Child Custody Case?

From a legal standpoint, if you don't have a child custody order in place, you will need to file a child custody action, since negotiating an amicable resolution with an individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will not likely be successful. Further, court orders hold parties accountable. At your consultation, one of our attorneys will explain the benefit of having child custody set forth in a court order versus a legal contract.

Depending on your budget, in addition to asking for a Child Custody Order in your favor, you could also ask the court to order a Psychological Evaluation of the parent, or the court appoints to conduct a Child Custody Evaluation.

How Do You Acquire a Psychological Evaluation for a Raleigh Divorce?

A Psychological Evaluation is performed by an appropriate mental health provider and evaluates the party for mental health illnesses or anything that may be relevant to their ability to parent. Often if you request a party undergo such testing, you can expect to be asked that you undergo the same testing.

Ultimately it is up to the Judge as to whether anyone will be required to be evaluated. The costs are often shared by the parties, or each party pays for its own. You can request the costs be shifted to another party if there is a significant income disparity between the parties, but this is not guaranteed.

How Does a Custody Evaluation Work?

The Custody Evaluation works the same way, except it is expanded to include an evaluation of you, the other party, the children, and other individuals you suggest the professional speak to regarding parenting matters (referred to as collaterals in these reports).

The Custody Evaluator (usually a psychologist) will synthesize all of the gathered information and provide an opinion as to what a proper custodial arrangement should be based on their research. The judge is presented the report at trial, and it is up to the judge to adopt the recommendation as an Order of the court or not. However, the judge is not bound by the report. It is likely the recommendation will be followed, but it is not mandatory.

What Costs are Associated with Custody Evaluations?

Psychological Evaluations are expensive, but you can expect a Child Custody Evaluation to be about three times the cost. You can speak with one of our attorneys at an initial consultation for more details regarding these procedures and expected costs.

Contact a Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer for Help Today

Divorce is tough under normal circumstances, but when you add a narcissistic parent to the situation it can be traumatic. It is important to protect your family’s mental health and legal rights. We would love the opportunity to discuss these issues further at an initial consultation. Schedule by calling our office at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below.

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