It took all of your courage and strength to decide to divorce your narcissist. And as the process got underway, you realized that you were in the fight of your life. Your narcissist doesn’t like that you stood against him. And he certainly doesn’t like that you are taking him to court and hope to win against him. And because of this, he is going to take you down in court. If you let him. But you can’t! You got this far. Don’t fold now! Believe it or not, you can absolutely show the court your ex’s narcissism and get the judgment you need to keep yourself and your family safe.
So how do you beat your narcissist at his own game in court? As a general rule, you need to get your narcissist to show his true colors in court. To know how to prove narcissistic abuse in court, you MUST hire a lawyer who knows narcissistic personality disorder inside and out AND has experience dealing with it. You must have a good support team who understands narcissism and how your ex functions as a narcissist. And you must have plenty of solid evidence. With all of these things ready, you will need to get enough time with the judge so they will actually be able to see what is really going on with your narcissist.
All of these things and a couple of bonus tactics should help your case greatly, whether it is property distribution, alimony and child support, custody, or some other issue. While you can never be guaranteed to win a case because it all depends on how a judge rules, you will know you have done everything humanly possible to tilt the scales of justice your way.
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Finding The Best Lawyer to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
This may be the single biggest thing you do to make your case the most solid you can. Your lawyer is your direct line to the judge. And most lawyers know all of the local judges, how they function, and what is important to them as they try to make the best ruling they can on the cases that come through their courtroom.
So, first finding a lawyer that really understands the judge in your district is a must. But then, finding a lawyer that understands narcissism well enough to be able to get the narcissist to unravel in court in front of the judge is pure gold.
My narcissist tried to destroy my chance of getting a good lawyer for court. My pastor had been telling me to retain a lawyer for six months before I finally started looking. And when I did start, I realized I had waited too long. My ex had interviewed every top lawyer in town already. Not because he wanted to retain them himself. But to cause a conflict so they couldn’t represent me in court. It’s a real thing! And it’s called “conflicting out.”
But what my husband did to destroy me actually ended up working so incredibly in my favor. I am convinced that my lawyer ended up sent to me by God Himself (I am not saying this lightly–I truly believe it). As it turned out, my lawyer was married to and divorced from a narcissist who was in the Navy.
She knew exactly what I had been through and then some. And her personal religious background and Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies were in sync with my own religious life/religious government experience. So she knew exactly how he was using our church to abuse me and our children. The icing on the cake: she was an award-winning lawyer.
She was from a neighboring town, so not on my ex’s radar. And my oldest daughter had worked with her and had a wonderful experience. So she recommended I try working with her.
Just to be clear, I did not fight for property or money in court. I pretty much gave in on those two fronts because protecting my children from narcissistic abuse was top priority. So that is where I kept my focus. Yes, I gave up some money. And I lost a whole lot of my worldly possessions when my ex took the house away from us and threw away most of my items (including all of my childhood belongings) and most of our children’s belongings as well. But winning our custody case in court was worth losing “stuff.”
*Wondering what to say to your narcissist to stand your ground but not in a dangerous way? Check out my article on 36+ Ways to Disarm a Narcissist Safely.
Exactly How My Lawyer Set up my Case to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
Here are the things my lawyer did to set up my case perfectly to prove narcissistic abuse in court:
- Because she was from a neighboring town, she contacted lawyers she knew in my town, as well as the guardian-ad-litem assigned to our case to understand exactly what the judges would be looking for. Accepting the guardian-ad-litem’s advice later on in our case may be the single biggest thing that helped me to win our custody case.
- She reserved a whole day in the courtroom so the judge would have plenty of time to see what my ex was really up to. She knew that my ex was very good at first impressions and putting on a really good act. And she knew he would paint himself as a productive military member of society and amazing Christian. She also knew that the more the judge saw of him, the more he would implode on himself and the true narcissist would come out.
- Because of her personal history with narcissism, she knew exactly what questions to ask me that would help her make the most relevant case in court.
- Because she realized that most people coming out of a narcissistic abusive marriage are still pretty fuzzy in their ability to think, she asked very pointed questions to me in the courtroom so I could answer succinctly and give the judge a perfect succession of events relevant to the case. She was amazingly good with this.
- And finally, when questioning my ex, she knew exactly how to show the judge exactly what he was lying about because she knew how to catch him in his own web. She allowed him to hang himself because he just wouldn’t stop talking. In all the wrong ways! (By this time he had fired his judge and was functioning without legal counsel. It was a deadly choice for his court case and a huge win for mine. But more on that in the next section!)
Make sure you lawyer can do all of this for you! If I had been missing any component of the above list of things she did for my case, it could very well have turned out very poorly for my children and their safety.
What if Your Narcissist’s Lawyer is Also a Narcissist When trying to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court?
So, unfortunately, it is a pretty well-known fact that many lawyers are narcissists. But not all of them, so you will need to use your “narc radar” to know what you are up against.
Obviously, there isn’t anything you can do about who your ex chooses to represent him in court. But it will be advantageous to know if your ex’s lawyer is, indeed, a narcissist. But guess what??? If your lawyer is already well-versed in handling narcissism, he or she’s got this too!
My ex’s lawyer drew up the paperwork that allowed my ex to take most of the household money and effectively get the kids and me kicked out of our family home. He knew that because of Covid, the courts were all so backlogged that I couldn’t get a hearing in time before I either left or defaulted on the house. My ex had “kindly” suggested that I use my credit card to pay the mortgage. And he knew that with his lawyer’s help, he could destroy me anyway he chose.
I actually wanted to be out of the house anyway. It was too big, too much work, and too expensive. I just didn’t want the kids and me to have to leave the only home they had ever known that way. It was hard on all of us. And we lost most of our earthly possessions in the process, which I mentioned above.
It showed the true colors of both my ex and his lawyer that they were willing to team up to do that to me. Additionally, my ex’s lawyer had been partners with the head judge of Juvenile District Court before he became a judge. So, because they were pals, I was so incredibly intimidated by how the court case would go. We had an uphill battle.
But, in yet another straight-from-God move, my ex ended up “firing” his lawyer because he had been nickel-and-dimed to death and could not longer afford to retain him. And in yet another icing-on-the-cake moment, his lawyer told mine stories of how much he disliked my ex. He represented him well when he was his lawyer. But it was just for the money he was getting paid.
This was a pretty long story, all just to tell you that if your own lawyer is knowledgeable and experienced in narcissistic issues, she will be able to show the judge what is right and what is terribly wrong regardless of who the bad players are. The judges have seen it all. And they can recognize a narcissist from a mile away when those narcissists are performing in their court, whether it is the plaintiff, defendant, lawyer, or anyone.
Finding the Best Support Team to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
Having the best lawyer to prove narcissistic abuse in court is a perfect start, but your job isn’t over yet. You will need a whole team of support to help you get past the narcissist’s divorce tactics. For more on that, click here. I will share with you all of the people that made up my dream team. I pray you will be able to find great people to make up your own support group.
How the Guardian-ad-litem Worked to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
We had the best guardian-ad-litem for our custody case. She listened well to our children and knew exactly what their thoughts, fears, and desires were regarding the mess that our little world had become.
Our guardian-ad-litem actually spoke with our 4 youngest kids so she could really understand what was going on in our home with them. And she got some really good insight upon listening to each of their stories, both individually and with each other. In the original case, my ex was demanding custody of all four of the youngest kids, even though most were older teenagers and he would not be able to force them against their will once the court heard their case.
When it came down to court day, the guardian-ad-litem was able to tell the judge what the kids were actually thinking and wanted. And she was able to recognize that it would be harmful for them to spend extensive time with their father and communicate that to the judge.
By the time we got to the final hearing, my ex was only fighting for custody of our youngest son. And she defended our son well before the judge.
She also knew how to work with the judge and what was important to her, which was instrumental in helping my lawyer set our case up for that judge. We spent 6 1/2 hours in front of that judge. And she really did get a good idea of what was going on in our case.
I didn’t get everything I thought would keep our son totally safe. I had been concerned that if my whole family together was not safe from the narcissistic abuse, how could my small youngest son alone be safe? But I got most of what he needed. He only had to spend a few hours a week with his dad. And there were no overnights.
Because my ex moved to a town 90 minutes away, most of the time they just went out to lunch or dinner and maybe an activity like a trampoline park, football at the park, golf, or a movie. Additionally, my son continued with court-ordered counseling with his dad so that if something came up, Jordan would have an outlet that could be used in court to protect him if there was abuse. He was as safe as he could be under the circumstances.
And that leads us perfectly into the next point!
How the Counselor Worked to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
My youngest son had court-ordered counseling from the beginning of the custody case. He had been in counseling previously, so it was a good transition for him. And he had an amazing counselor on our second try using the agency that the court mandated. The first counselor horrified me when she said my son was going to have to spend large significant times with my ex and I had better get used to it. She said this after she knew about the abuse. And she never really even tried to understand my son’s feelings or needs. I was so incredibly grateful when I asked my ex if he would be willing to change counselors and he didn’t like her either so agreed.
The next counselor was a good fit for everyone. Except that my ex said she wasn’t accomplishing anything (he said that about every single one of his own previous counselors as well). The truth was she couldn’t accomplish anything with my ex. He refused to accept any advice on how to relate better with his son. He didn’t want to be told what to do. In fact, he needed to control the room.
On the flip side, the counselor began speaking with others in her office about her inability to make progress. And everyone said the same thing. Dad was a narcissist. They gave her ideas to keep counseling productive for our son. Every other week he would be with me in his session so he could vent about issues that he didn’t feel comfortable about with his dad. And over time, he began to get comfortable talking about his issues with his dad in the session.
My son realized that because he wasn’t alone with his dad, he was limited in what harm he could do to him. And if the counselor found out about any harm, it would not end well for my ex. Everything about their relationship (or lack thereof) came out in the counseling office. My son learned how to get braver in the relationship. And my ex learned what words everyone wanted to hear and acted accordingly.
Is it perfect? No! But I am not as worried about the abuse as I was. My ex knows he’s being watched. He keeps trying to end counseling so he can be on his own again. But the counselor knows it would be harmful to give him that latitude while our son is still young. In a couple of years, when my son is a bit bigger and independent, he will be able to communicate his own needs well enough that we won’t have to keep the accountability of the counseling. But for now, it is doing my son good in all areas of life, not just in dealing with his dad.
The advice I would give to every other family in this situation: make sure your children have adequate counseling! Make sure they trust their counselor and are comfortable talking with them. And make sure that counselor is going to advocate for your kids in court.
Our counselor point blank told the judge it would not be safe for our son to spend nights and weekends with his dad. She understood narcissism and could communicate its harm to the judge. And it directly affected the judge’s ruling. It was a necessary component to our case. It will be for yours too!
Your Family’s Ability to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
One of the sister groups to my DivorceCare organization that I work with is DivorceCare4Kids. It is a program for 5-12 year-old children whose parents are going through a divorce. It is an amazing program that helped my son even better than counseling on some evenings. It is a 13-week program. (For more, check it out here.) Something that the leaders have talked about extensively is that many, many children believe they are responsible for their parent’s divorce, often in the strangest ways (the crazy things that go on in a child’s mind!).
Kids would tie something they did wrong to the divorce. One child said it was because she had gotten to scissors and cut her hair. Another said it was because he hadn’t picked up his room often enough when being told. It almost didn’t realize how small the reason was that they came up in their mind. They were devastated and this was the way many children processed it.
The first thing I want to say regarding this is to keep communication open with your children from the start! They don’t have to know every detail. But they do have to know their part in this new world. And that fault is not their part.
My case was a little bit different because there was abuse involved. Because of this, counselors and church leaders were involved with the kids directly, helping them to process their own experiences and feelings with their dad. They could see from the outset that it wasn’t their fault, and that they were actually being protected.
If you are getting a divorce and your family is not experiencing abuse that is causing the divorce, it may be a little bit trickier to explain why. But the biggest need for you in relation to your kids is to make sure to separate the divorce from their behavior or feelings. And talk about it. You don’t have to share the private parts of the marriage and divorce or even your reasons. Your focus will more be on the kids’ feelings and helping them process through it.
In the case of a divorce where children are involved in harm done to the family, older kids can absolutely testify in court. But only if they want to. You can’t ever push a child into court. Divorce on its own is traumatic for them. But testifying in court can be cathartic for some kids trying to process what they experienced. For others, it can be stressful beyond their ability.
The counselors and guardian-ad-litem (if there is one) can be life-savingly helpful in this case if your kids are in a position to be able to help in court regarding the custody case. It is their future on the line, so many will want to have a say in that. Younger kids won’t be put on the stand. My youngest son went into the judge’s chambers and spoke with her privately, along with the guardian-ad-litem, which he was familiar and comfortable with. My older (17 years and up) children were willing to testify in court for the sake of helping keep their brother safe. It was incredibly helpful and definitely helped the judge to understand and rule appropriately.
And again, my lawyer was instrumental in asking the perfect questions and setting up the whole conversation in a way that the judge got exactly the information she needed to know what was really going on and the kids were able to easily answer the questions.
Your Church’s Job to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
Various churches across the world function in vastly different ways. The church denominations I was involved with had a formal church government similar to secular government. There were local, regional, and national levels, just the same as American government’s local, state, and federal government. This proved very helpful to my family’s struggle because there was a “legal” system to help protect us. And it reached out to the counselors working through our case as well as the court system throughout the divorce.
I will say that it took a long time for our church to see the narcissistic behavior. The one kind of narcissism my ex was most successful at was religious or spiritual narcissism. For many years, he had built his reputation as a pillar of the community. He was even teaching parenting/marriage classes at church while he was going home and playing the master narcissist. Nobody had a clue. I contributed to his reputation because I had to make it look like we were the “perfect family.”
But over time, as I started learning how to communicate what was happening behind closed doors and church leaders started pushing into these things, he began to see them with the same contempt he saw me. And he started exercising narcissistic behavior to them. Now they fully understood what was happening to the kids and me behind closed doors because they were experiencing the same thing. All while my ex continued to be the amazing Christian husband, father, and church servant in the public arena.
Our church worked with our counselors and wrote affidavits to the court, verifying that things got so harmful in our home that they had him removed from our home. It was all incredibly helpful to prove narcissistic abuse in court.
If you could do anything to help your own court case, it would be to involve the church leadership sooner than later. But be gracious about it. The more you act out, the more the narcissist will be able to convince everyone else that you are the problem. Have written evidence and if your children have been narcissistically or physically abused, request that the church hear and help them as well.
In America, church leaders are mandated reporters. They are required by law to report to authorities any abusive behaviors they find out about. And all of that will help your court case as well!
For more on how to prepare your court case and safely leave your narcissist for good, check out my article here. Know the the process of leaving and divorcing your narcissist begins long before you leave or divorce. And for a free 57-page guide to divorcing a narcissist, click here.
Rounding out Your Team to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
All of the people mentioned above have the ability to make or break your court case with a narcissist. They are all instrumental in being able to prove narcissistic abuse in court. And because of this, they are the most critical players in your world. But there are several others who can play a significant supportive role in your court case. Let’s take a brief look at those.
Neighbors Can Help You Prove Narcissistic Abuse
We lived in a very close-knit neighborhood for 17+ years. And over that time, neighbors could see a lot of what was going on in our world. Over the years, things came back to me from a few neighbors who observed things in our household and shared concern and support for me and our kids. Here are a couple of examples:
- My ex was known as the father of 8 kids who hated kids. This was because he would come home from work, get out of his car, and immediately harshly tell all of the neighborhood kids who were playing in our yard to go home. Not a “hello, how are you doing.” Not a polite, “it’s time for you to go home so we can have some family time.” Just, “Go home.”
- My ex would say derogatory things to a girl who virtually grew up in our home because she was an only child and fit in so well with our kids. I used to joke she was the child I never had in the gap I had between my second and third children. She called me Mom and virtually lived in our home. Until my ex would come in. Then she would either scatter to the kids’ rooms with my kids or just go home.
When it became public that we were separated, neighbors came out in droves to talk about what they witnessed about our family or how he treated them behind closed doors. Most of our neighbors had negative experiences with him. But there were a couple that he treated only the best so they could be his flying monkeys and supports. The people who came to you to talk about what happened in their view or experience may be willing to testify to the same in court, or at least submit an affidavit in writing to the court and/or lawyers.
Friends Can Help You Prove Narcissistic Abuse
This will literally play out the same as it did with any neighbors or extended family members who let you know that they witnessed or experienced narcissistic behavior from your ex. Some may volunteer the information and to testify in court. In my case, I had so much support that I didn’t feel the need to bring in even more people.
If you think you need to show more evidence in court from outside sources, then by all means, feel free to ask them. But be gracious about it and don’t make them feel awkward. If they aren’t sure they want to, don’t press them. You only ever want people who are eager to testify. Anything else could be too much strain on your friendships.
People Who Have Worked With You and/or Your Ex Can Help You Prove Narcissistic Abuse
If you have spent any time with your ex’s co-workers, they may have placed hints at narcissistic behavior in casual conversation. If this is the case, you can absolutely ask them for more information. They may have said things to you, wondering if you were familiar with the narcissistic behavior. They may be facing the narcissism behind closed doors as much as you do.
Do not engage with someone who does not first approach you regarding narcissistic behavior. It will come back on you in the worst of ways if they are knowing or even unwitting supporters of your ex’s narcissism (also known as flying monkeys!).
There may be other people who have worked with you or your ex besides co-workers. People you hired to do work on your home may have had negative experiences. People that did projects in side hustles, people who did charity work with you, people in organizations that you or your ex associated with.
These specific people can be from nearly anything you did in life. But as I mentioned above, don’t engage them first. Instead, be open to hints that come at you from them. And hold your own experience close to your heart. Don’t blurt out the crazy stuff that happened until you know for sure they understand. You do not want to read into things said as support that really weren’t and then realize you shared private things with someone that you shouldn’t have.
Collecting the Best Documentation and Evidence When Trying to Prove Narcissistic Abuse in Court
Besides the people who will support you in your endeavor to prove narcissistic abuse in court, having the best and well-rounded documented evidence will be the finishing touch for your court case. Here are some examples of documentation you will need:
- Text and email conversations with your ex.
- Letters they wrote to counselors, church leadership, or other invested parties that they included you in or that the agencies shared with you later.
- Bank statements that show funny business against documented agreements (along with those documented agreements to show continuity).
- Any existing police reports, restraining orders, and other such items.
- Counseling records. Interestingly, my ex told his lawyer that nobody could have access to his counseling records. That made sense to me because he didn’t want anyone to know that he had a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in them. My lawyer said it was an easy workaround to just use my records that talked about how to deal with his NPD diagnosis. Just as good as the real thing!
- Kids’ counseling records.
- Any journaling that you did that was relevant.
- Any other document you come across or receive that has any information your lawyer may find relevant.
It is important to send these items off to your lawyer as you get them. They can file them away and will know how to assemble them to use them in the best way for your case. And you won’t have to worry about gathering it all and sending it later. Do it while you’re dealing with it initially and you won’t have to worry about it again.
For more on all of this, check out my article about Identifying and Guarding Against the Narcissist’s Divorce Tactics.
Most of us who have been married to narcissists, whether male or female, feel hopeless and trapped. Upon leaving our narcissists and seeking divorce, many feel defeated. If the narcissist was unbearable when you were married to them, they certainly aren’t going to cut you a break when divorcing. They are going to try to destroy you. And that is why you need to be able to know how to prove narcissistic abuse in court.
Fortunately, narcissism is now well known in the courtroom and throughout the legal system. You WILL be able to find legal aid and courtrooms that are well aware of what is going on. And that is how the team and methods above will help you to finally be free and well as you break away from the trap of the narcissist and finally make your own way.
I need to recommend the perfect book to help you do this. I used it as a reference throughout my 3-year long divorce process (it was during Covid plus my ex dragged things out while trying to manipulate us back into his influence; your divorce process will likely be significantly shorter!) and it was a life-saver for me. It is called Will I Ever Be Free of You: How to Navigate a High-conflict Divorce From a Narcissist and Heal Your Family by Karyl McBride. You will find it your best resource throughout your divorce. And then you will recommend or gift it to all of your friends going through a divorce thereafter! Check it out below:
My copy is badly dog-eared and tattered. You may want to get the hardcover version so you can take all the notes you need to and it will stay in better condition for you!
I would love to hear how things went for you. How did your narcissist fare in court? How were your people able to help you? What worked for the judge in your case? Please share with us in the comments below. Someone will need your story to inspire them–and then someday they will be able to share their story. We will win over the narcissists, one victim-turned-victor at a time!
Blessings and hugs,
If you found good value in this article, I think you will love how helpful the following articles are as well!
- How Narcissists Use Religion to Control and Manipulate You - December 26, 2023
- Do Flying Monkeys Ever See the Truth? - December 16, 2023
- Flying Monkeys Spying: Understanding and Dealing With It - September 21, 2023