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Divorcing the Narcissist

Narcissism is categorized as a personality disorder by the mental health profession (Narcissistic Personality Disorder – NPD).  Of course there are very few individuals who are formally diagnosed with NPD, mostly because few, if any, actually seek out therapy.

Dealing with a narcissist during a marriage can be a challenging endeavor; however dealing with a narcissist during a divorce can be almost impossible.  The narcissist will often look to manipulate others, especially partners, ultimately to control them.  Projection and blame are often key elements to their manipulation. 

When a partner finds the courage to divorce a narcissist, the sense of control loss can lead them to become verbally abusive and sometimes even physical.  They will often become enraged when faced with a partner who has found self power.  The narcissist feels the need to punish their partner for their sense of control loss and will feel justified in their actions.  This can lead to an escalation of their methods of control and abuse. The lies will be bolder and he or she will try to manipulate with more intensity.  There is a severe need to regain power and control and they will go to any means in their quest.  It is not uncommon for the narcissist to deplete all assets to pay attorneys to continue the battle. 

Often an abused spouse will give into requests or negotiations, in hopes that the narcissist will be satisfied and they can possible move forward in the divorce proceedings.  However, the typical narcissist will just move onto the next item or issue which they feel will add to the punishment.

When dealing with a narcissist, don’t expect empathy, they are physically not capable.  Don’t base your own self esteem on what is said or the opinions expressed by your partner.  Don’t take on all the blame yourself, the narcissist projects blame onto others.  Remember that a narcissist is really an emotionally scarred individual unable to let others in or admit they have any faults. 

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Top 5 Things to Do If Divorce is Imminent

Make Copies of Everything - You need to make copies of all financial documents before the divorce begins. It is much more difficult and costly to obtain these documents through discovery procedures at a later date. Here is a list of the documents you will need:

a) Tax returns for the last three to five years
b) Bank statements - online statement s will do as well
c) Check registers
d) Investment statements
e) Retirement account statements
f) Employee benefits handbooks
g) Life insurance policies
h) Mortgage documents
i) Credit card statements
j) Wills
k) Social Security statements
l) Automobile titles
m) If your spouse is self-employed, it is important to gather as much information as possible about the finances of the business.
n) Financial data stored on your home computer

Research and Interview Family Law Attorneys - Interview family law attorneys and retain the one that best fits your needs and goals.

Inventory All Family Assets - I strongly suggest taking a video camera and making a video inventory of all assets. This not only documents each item, but it also is a visual archive of the current condition of all items. This can also be used when assessing the value of all items. At the very least, make an exhausted written inventory. Do this before you leave the house. Once you leave the home, you will need to spend money to obtain the court's permission to re-enter and your spouse can remove or hide items easily.

Know your Household Budget - Document the monthly spend for utilities, food, entertainment, etc. Go through check registers, utility bills, etc. This can help when setting alimony and temporary support orders.

Know What Your Spouse Makes - Understand exactly what your spouse earns. Also identify any earning potential (upcoming promotion, graduating school or higher education, bonuses, etc. If your spouse has a business partner, you may be able to learn how the partners are paid during a casual conversation with the partner. If your spouse is self-employed or gets paid in cash, keep track of the money flowing in for several months.

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Is Your Spouse Hiding Money During Your Divorce?

Hiding money (assets) during a divorce is illegal and unethical. Never the less it's more common than you think. Both men and woman alike have and continue these tactics daily. I am in no way advocating hiding assets. I am simply documenting facts to help educate and protect.

By hiding money your spouse may be trying to lower child support and alimony payments. You and your attorney must look to uncover any hidden moneys and to prove the actual amount of money that your spouse has available.

I've listed five items below to give you a starting point for finding hidden income and assets.

1) Your spouse may defer a part of his salary until after the divorce. Look for letters, notes, or emails asking to defer income. Look at past history of your spouses earnings. If he/she is normally receives $50,000 per year in commissions and suddenly not receiving any money or a dramatic drop. Advise your attorney.

2) Some spouses receive bonuses in addition to their net pay. Look for deals where partial bonuses are paid and the other portion is put into a separate account accruing to the benefit of the employee. Bonuses can be deferred for future distribution. Look for a pattern of bonus payments in the past.

3) If your partner is suddenly, chronically short of cash, or if their weekly ATM withdrawal doubles, that could be a sign. Many stores now let you get cash back when using your debit card for purchases. Your spouse can be adding $20, $40, or more to ever purchase. Check receipts.

4) Does the mail come to your home? If not, that could be a red flag that your spouse doesn't want you to see certain incoming statements.

5) Any changes in the way family finances are handled. Did that joint savings account suddenly disappear? Was there a piece of a stock sold or got rolled over into something else?

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Divorce - Court Room Tips

When it comes to the Court Room, you will find this to be a pretty place. Once the divorce proceedings begin, the outcome of your divorce is in the hands of a total stranger - the Judge.

You no longer have control. All decisions will now be made by a stranger. Of course this stranger may be having a bad day, not feeling well, or even have had a major fight with their spouse the night before. I know it's scary and may even seem unfair, but this is the real world and it happens all the time. This judge is now in control of the outcome of your trial.

Here are a few tips to help prepare you for the Court Room experience:

1. First, I strongly recommend you try to settle as many issues as possible before entering the Court Room. This means the judge won't be in control of everything.
2. Do not expect the Judge will always make decisions in your favor. There are three directions the judge can go when making a decision: Your way, your spouse's way, or the Judge's way. As you can see, two out three are not in your favor.
3. Discuss how you should act, and when to speak with you attorney before going into the courtroom. Do not speak unless asked to do so by the Judge.
4. When addressing the Judge with respect by addressing him/her as "Your Honor."
5. Never speak to or make comments to your spouse when you are before the Judge.
6. Leave all hostile and negative emotions at the door. Do not make faces or gestures when the judge or your spouse's attorney is speaking. Judges see this and do not appreciate it.
7. Dress for success. Your attorney will have a certain strategy on how he/she wants you to be portrayed. Therefore, consult your attorney on how he/she wants you to dress.
8. Take notes. Don't leave anything to chance. Your attorney will be very busy during the process and cannot remember or write everything down.
9. Be prepared and stay organized. Bring as much information, documentation and any pertinent documents that you possibly can with you. It is better to have too much ammunition than not enough.
10. Be prepared to be in the court house for some time. You will sometimes wait for hours before your case is called.

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Divorce - Dividing Up the Money

Probably one of the toughest parts to any divorce is the emotional trap that revolves around money. Depending on your situation, you may have to part with a hefty chunk of your savings, investments, retirement fund, and pension.

For the most part, martial assets will be divided equally by the courts. The key word here was 'marital'. That means any funds that you have put into a joint account become marital. If you make $100,000 a year and your spouse does not work, the money you put into a joint account becomes both of yours. It gets divided equally. Doesn't sound fair, does it? The same holds true for your 401K plan. In my case, I had one, she did not. Now she's got half of mine.

I urge you to remember the fact that it's only money. We've all heard the old proverb that 'money makes people do crazy things'. Here's crazy for you, how about paying your attorney thousands of dollars to fight your spouse for the same amount. Many people get wrapped up in the money and forget to think straight. Chances are you will be required to divide your assets equally, so don't waste any more money fighting over things that will be out of your control anyway. Also remember the longer it takes to finalize your divorce, the more money you need to pay your attorney. My divorce went for over five years and over thirty-two thousand dollars to my attorney. I'm guessing my ex paid her attorney close to the same. Think about that, we could have put our daughter through college with the money wasted on attorney fees.

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Divorce and Alimony Formula

In divorce, a common question is, "what is the alimony formula".  Well, there really is no set alimony formula for divorce.  This is in complete contrast to child support, which is decided based upon a specific formula in each state.  Alimony is based on factors and those factors are decided through divorce negotiation or by a divorce judge. But, there is no alimony formula available to your divorce attorney or you to determine in advance what alimony will be paid in your case.

What does a divorce court look at to determine alimony?  Those issues do vary by state.  But, there are also many alimony factors that are common from state to state.  So, although there is no specific alimony formula for you to rely on, there are alimony factors that you can look at to help you determine what the alimony might be in your case.
 
In divorce, some of the alimony factors that a judge might look at include the following.  First is the length of your marriage.  If the parties have been married for one year, the court's attitude towards a request for alimony will be very different than if the parties have been married for twenty years.  Because the length of marriage varies so much in all divorces, it is not possible to plug this factor into an alimony forumla to determine the alimony amount.

Another factor affecting the award of alimony is employment status.  Obviously, if the spouse seeking alimony has been unemployed or underemployed for a number of years to care for young children, the home, or the spouse, that is a factor that will militate in that spouse's favor if he or she is seeking alimony.  On the other hand, if that spouse has the ability to obtain employment that will more than adequately meet his or her needs, the court might think a little differently about awarding alimony to that party.  Other factors that are considered closely with this factor include level of education, job experience, the age of children in the household, and work history.

A major factor that can affect an award of alimony is the amount of property to be retained or divided by the parties.  If the spouse seeking alimony has been a stay at home parent, but will have signifcant assets after divorce or has separate assets, like a trust fund, the court's attitude towards the award of alimony will be affected.  The court will certainly view a request for alimony under these circumstances much different than a request made by an individual who is receiving no assets in the divorce or who does not have any separate property.

The health of the party seeking alimony is a major factor that can impact a court's decision in awarding alimony.  If the spouse seeking alimony has a debilitating physical condition that impacts whether or how much they can work, the court will not want to impoverish that party after divorce and the court will be more likely to use alimony to address at least basic living needs. 

One other factor that should be considered by the divorce court and by the parties, is the taxability of the alimony payments.  In most instances, if there is no specific provision to the contrary, spousal support payments are taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payor.  The tax benefit obtained by spreading out economic wealth in this fashion can be significant and should be discussed in depth with your divorce attorney.

One issue that is not always considered by the court, but should be discussed with your divorce attorney, is that alimony payments are, in general, not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  If there is any possibility that the party who is to pay alimony will be filing for bankruptcy, the divorce attorneys will negotiate very hard on both sides to maximize the final benefit to their client in divorce. 

It should thus be apparent that in divorce, there can be no easy alimony forumla, no matter what state you live in.  It is impossible to plug these and other factors into a mathematical equation to arrive at a "correct" alimony formula.  It is necessary that the divorce court, or the divorce attorneys review how these varied and different factors affect both parties in the divorce and then arrive at a solution that encompasses all of the divorce issues, including property settlement and alimony.  They cannot simply set up an alimony formula that would work for all parties.

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Divorce - Are You Feeling Cheated?

Are you feeling relieved after divorce or cheated? After many divorces people feel happy while in many rather more cases they feel cheated. Why? Divorce it self is a very painful process and the times that lead to divorce are more painful. The question is why get the sense of feeling cheated after getting divorce? Let us talk about this.

Relationship demands giving - People give a lot to their marriage; most of them do it except few. Right from the development of relationship, a lot of time, emotional energy and physical resources are given to make it work. During marriage the investment goes higher. Most of the partners want the marriage to work. There are exceptions that unbelievably want to destroy because of psychological problems. When cracks develop in the marriage, lot more effort is made to save the marriage and when the marriage breaks after putting in so much effort, one feels cheated.

Is this true for all? This is not true for all. There are few individuals who don't give anything in marriage. They ask for it. The demand and contribute nothing. That is the game of selfishness played by them. So these people will never feel cheated. They will only feel bad that they lost an easy victim.

What should you do? The only way out is to forget the losses. Try to erase the past as much as possible. This will be difficult, but break the pain bit by bit. Work on it and it will go away one day. Try to forge another relationship and forget what went wrong. Cut your losses as soon as possible.

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Can one spouse prevent a divorce from happening?

If one person does not want to get a divorce, but one party in the relationship does and it is a no fault divorce, then the spouse cannot stop the divorce.  This is called an irreconcilable difference and is a justification for divorce. 

A spouse can prevent a fault divorce by convincing the court that he or she is not at fault.  This is something that they would have to prove and it is up to the judge to decide.  There are other additional ways to defend a divorce from happening may also be a choice for some situations.

If a person who condones that a spouse is having an affair files for a divorce, the spouse may contest the fault divorce by arguing that the spouse knew of the affair and condoned the action.  This is one way for a person to defend himself or herself in court.

Connivance is the setting up of a situation so that the other person commits something to jeopardize the marriage.  One type of situation to explain is if a women sets up her husband in situation where he is alone with his mistress.  This is known as a set up and it is an argument that one can make in court to defend their actions. 

Provocation is the inciting of a spouse to do a certain act.  If a spouse is suing for divorce and claims that the other spouse abandoned them, the other spouse might defend their suit because they were provoked by the abandonment.  Collusion is if a couple lives in a state where no fault divorce requires that the couple separate for a time and the couple doe not want to prolong the situation.  This may lead the couple to mislead the court and pretend that one of them was at fault just to get out of the marriage. 

These above defenses are not usually used for a few different reasons.  Proving a defense may require witnesses and involve a lot of time and expense.   Your efforts will usually bring nothing to the situation.  Chances are that a court will eventually grant the divorce.  A person should not have to stay married if they do not wish too.  The law is designed to give people the opportunity to get out of the marriage if that is what he or she really wants to do.  If you are involved in a marriage that you don't want to be in any longer, the process can be hard to get through, but you can make a divorce really happen, and put an end to the marriage.

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Divorce Lawyer: Key to Divorce

Divorce refers to the dissolution or the legal end of a marriage. Every state has its own legal requirements governing when a divorce may be granted. These legal requirements may include a residency requirement, grounds or a reason for the divorce, among others.

The grounds for divorce may vary from being fault-based and no-fault based. All these requirements vary from state to state. Certain exceptions like ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ and ‘Irretrievable Breakdown’ are common no-fault grounds for divorce in almost all states. Your divorce could be the most important financial decision in life, as well as one of the most nerve wrecking. In such a circumstance, the key person who can see you through this is a divorce lawyer.

The divorce lawyer helps you in making extremely important financial and emotional decisions like child custody, property divisions etc. You must choose a lawyer well versed and specializing in Family Law.

You can look for a good lawyer by asking around, consulting your friends, relatives and acquaintances. A divorce lawyer with references will be more helpful than the one who is completely unknown to you and all people around.

When you first meet the lawyer, give all case facts. The fee quoted by the person will be a rough approximate as the amount of legal work involved is not very clear. Usually, they charge by the hour, and a retainer fee as an advance payment may be desired by the lawyer. You are at liberty to interview a few lawyers before choosing one to represent you in court.

To be on the safe side, it's a good idea to enquire from the lawyers the following facts:

• The relevant experience he/she has in Family Law and number of years of practice in this field.
• Steps involved in the divorce process as well as expected time frame and legalities involved.
• Filing fee and the fee that any additional legal assistants employed will ask for.
• Inquire about the Retainer Agreement policy of the lawyer/firm.
• Billing cycle of the lawyer.

A good lawyer will answer all queries, and will try to address any concerns that you may have about legal implications or your case in general.

A good divorce lawyer:

• Will always be prepared for all your hearings.
• Will know exactly what your expectation from the case is.
• Will not be able to win all hearings.
• May not be able to answer your calls 24*7*365.

Once you and your spouse start the proceedings, do not sign any paper for your partner without express knowledge of your divorce lawyer. Litigations and negotiations are little subjective so ask your lawyer about his/her policy in this matter.

A good divorce lawyer is invaluable to your case, so you should choose one carefully. Also, once your case starts, do not change lawyers unless it is absolutely necessary as this may also harm your case. In case you are looking to change divorce lawyers, make sure that you get all information from the previous divorce lawyer such as who is the judge, necessary papers etc, so a smooth transition is possible. Once you place your trust in a lawyer, do it completely and assist him/her. After all, it is your own life.
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Divorce Ammo - Divorce Tips

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