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If you are divorcing a narcissist, understanding potential challenges can help you get through the process.

What is a narcissistic personality disorder?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person with a narcissistic personality disorder has an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. The individual is very vulnerable to the slightest criticism, causes problems in many areas of life (relationships, work, school or financial affairs) and may be generally unhappy and disappointed when not given special favors or admiration.

When divorcing a narcissist…

According to a Psychology Today article that incorporates input from a therapist and the author’s attorney, here are some factors to consider.

Divorce and Narcissist Statistics

Narcissist Character Traits

Here are some narcissistic traits have that are problematic for divorce:

Being right – Truth does not matter but “being right” does, and if playing the victim serves the goal, then a narcissist will do that.

Maintaining power and an edge – A narcissist is not interested in changing or becoming a better person and would game the system if at all possible, even if that means filing endless motions or false accusations. Dragging you through a court battle can make the narcissist feel empowered, and how long the divorce takes is of no concern. If you give up and go away, the narcissist enjoys the victory.

No empathy – Hurting the other spouse does not matter to a narcissist. This can take its toll on your children and you.

Court battles – The narcissist may prefer a court battle to negotiation because letting a judge decide means not having to take responsibility for the outcome. Beware, because the narcissist often wants to obstruct the process, will refuse to negotiate or settle, run up your bills, paint you as the bad guy, and continue dragging issues to court even after settlement or divorce.

What Should You Do?

Discuss Divorce with a Caring and Competent Divorce Lawyer

There are many factors to weigh when considering divorce, and it is wise to seek legal advice right away. Attorney Chris Palermo takes your divorce seriously and works diligently to help you obtain as favorable an outcome as possible.


Divorce lawyers and counselors often advise clients not to discuss their divorce with family or friends. When it comes to divorce, many people want to weigh in with their opinions. Emotions can fly high and the end results are often unfavorable.

Such was the case in February 2017 for a United Airlines pilot. NBC reported that the female pilot arrived late to work and was dressed in civilian clothes for her flight that was scheduled to fly from Austin to San Francisco.

The pilot announced to passengers she was late because she was going through a divorce and made disparaging comments about presidential candidates Clinton and Trump. One of the passengers videoed the incident and put it on YouTube but then took it down. About half of the passengers walked off the plane because they felt unsafe.

The airlines sent a pilot to replace her, and the pilot walked off the plane of her own accord. By this time she was in tears. United Airlines released a statement that said, “We hold our employees to the highest standards and replaced this pilot with a new one to operate the flight.”

Fortunately, the pilot was not identified, and a passenger who ran into her afterward said she was crying and apologized. Many passengers expressed compassion and concern for the pilot.

How to Avoid a Meltdown During Divorce

Divorce is emotionally traumatic for many people, and this can be true even if you are the one initiating the divorce. Seeking legal guidance can help you dispel confusion about your divorce options and understand what to expect. Mediation is often a way to make the divorce process more amicable and less stressful. In many divorce cases, the husband or wife may find divorce therapy is a great aid for helping them cope with the overall situation. Be proactive and avoid your own divorce meltdown.

Do You Have Questions about Divorce? Consult with a Divorce Lawyer.

If you are considering divorce, consult with a lawyer early on to avoid actions that could potentially further complicate divorce. Attorney Chris Palermo offers compassionate legal assistance and can help you navigate a challenging divorce.




During divorce, emotions fly high, conversations become heated and threats are often made. One parent alleges abuse by the other parent. Yet, the other parent counters with claims of parental alienation (brainwashing). So, which is it — abuse or brainwashing? The courts must examine the facts and decide which it is.

Minnesota Case of Two Missing Sisters

Following a bitter divorce in Minnesota, ABC News reported about a case with claims of abuse and parental alienation in 2016. After the father was awarded custody, his two teenage sisters disappeared for almost three years.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation involves one parent feeding lies to the children about the other parent who is portrayed as bad and unloving. The alienating parent hammers on the other parent’s flaws until the children completely withdraw and may even pull away from the whole extended family. Often in these cases, the alienated parent is accused of being abusive.

The court has the job of determining whether abuse actually exists or whether the parent claiming abuse is simply alienating the children.

Mothers Alleging Abuse Often Lose Child Custody Cases

According to George Washington University law professor Joan Meier, judges often assume children were brainwashed to lie instead of believing that abuse actually occurred. She says that child abuse cases must be substantiated by strong evidence or you will lose custody because the court will assume parental alienation occurred. She did a pilot study where 80 percent of parental alienation cases involving mothers alleging child abuse against the father ended up with the mother losing either primary or joint custody of the kids.

Charges Against Mother in the Minnesota Missing Girls Case

In the Minnesota case, the mother lost child custody after alleging abuse, and when her girls disappeared she faced felony charges for hiding the girls and was put in jail with bail set at $1 million. The girls were discovered nearly three years later, living at a farm less than three hours from their home. When they disappeared, no Amber Alert was issued, no police press conferences were held and no manhunt was undertaken to find them.

Slowly, the truth came to light in this case after the girls were found. On July 28, a jury found the mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, guilty of six felony charges for hiding her two teenage daughters from their father for more than two years.

Seek Legal Help Early on in Your Child Custody Case

It is important to seek legal help early on in a divorce case so your attorney can gather necessary evidence to prepare a strong case on your behalf or effectively negotiate an acceptable settlement. Attorney Chris Palermo offers compassionate legal help an can help you protect their rights.


The decision to divorce is life changing, and unanswered questions can linger in the back of your mind, making you uncertain or insecure about your decisions.

Scientific American reported about research that could be helpful to know.

Should you stay in an unhappy marriage to protect your kids from the harmful effects of divorce?

Every year about 1.5 million children live in families where their parents divorce. According to one research study, only a small percentage of children suffer from serious problems related to divorce. On the short term, the divorce may seem traumatic. Your children may react with anger, anxiety, sadness or shock. However, kids overall recover quickly, and usually by the end of the second year after divorce, such negative emotions disappear. Studies showed that children from intact families and divorced families didn’t differ significantly.

What effects do high levels of parental conflict have on children?

Children subjected to high parental conflict had a more difficult time adjusting in life. This is true whether within a marriage or during or after divorce. Despite this fact, children in high conflict families experienced less shock when learning their parents were getting a divorce. Children were more prepared to hear about the divorce and were less surprised or terrified by the news. Some even experienced relief.

How can you reduce the factors that would adversely affect your children?

You can limit your conflict associated with the divorce process or avoid exposing your child to the conflict. The better you adjust to life changes after divorce, the more likely your child is to adjust well too. Open communication with your children and answering their questions helps them. Good parenting that provides warmth and support and economic stability are also positive influences. Socially supporting your kids and social support from other adults like teachers and the children’s peers can also help them bounce back from the divorce.

Work with a Divorce Lawyer You Can Trust

If you’re contemplating divorce and have questions Attorney Chris Palermo is glad to provide you with experienced legal guidance. He can help you make the right decisions.

Because breaking divorce news may be one of the most important conversations you ever have with your children, it’s worth the time to plan the best approach.

Guidelines to Follow recommends the following guidelines:

Both parents should tell the children together. Both parents should put their children’s well being first when telling them about the decision to divorce. You should present divorce as a joint decision and set your reactions about it aside — resentment, blame, etc. Your children need reassurance that you will still work together as parents to provide what’s best for them.

Tell all of your children at the same time. Generally it’s better for all the kids to find out at the same time. An exception may be if you know an older child will react badly and upset a younger child, in which case, tell them individually.

Figure out what to say in advance. Telling your children in a way that addresses their concerns is extremely important. It is important for your kids to understand that:

Mentally Prepare for Your Kids’ Reactions

Kids often get angry, cry, shout or run to their rooms. Let them express their feelings without having your own reactions to their behavior. You may need to give them time alone. You also may feel like they need affection and to be held or hugged. Many children respond by being concerned about how their immediate life will be affected. Will they still be able to go to the same school, see their friends or go to a party they’ve been invited to attend? While that type of response may seem superficial to you, it is typical for kids to respond this way.

Answer their questions and continue to have talks with them about their concerns over your divorce. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is important to be honest and tell them so, rather than make promises you may not be able to keep.

For Experienced Legal Help

Divorce can be complicated because there are many facets to consider. Attorney Chris Palermo can provide you with experienced legal guidance and help you make the right decisions.

Sometimes during divorce or after a divorce concludes, the spouse receiving spousal support may begin cohabiting with another partner. Should you have to pay spousal support, which would effectively go to supporting that couple instead of an independent spouse?

How Does New York Law Address This Issue?

Last year, a case called Sanseri v. Sanseri came before the New York Supreme Court and it addressed when a trial court can terminate maintenance.

New York law for terminating maintenance has changed over the years to keep up with our changing culture. In 1978, based on the case Northrup v. Northrup, the court ruled that unless the person was habitually living with a man and “holding herself out” as his wife, no modification was allowed.

Decades later, the NY Legislature restructured the concept of maintenance to provide financial assistance based on a model of “economic dependence.”

Details of the Sanseri v. Sanseri Case

The husband and wife were not yet divorced because certain issues still had to be resolved. The court ordered maintenance when the divorce began based on income disparities. Later, the wife admitted to living with another man, sharing a bedroom and commingling finances through a joint checking account. She accepted an engagement ring from her new partner. She shared family activities with him, listed him as an emergency contact for her child, shared birthdays, holidays and they traveled together.

Whether she should continue receiving maintenance hung up on the point that she had never “held herself out” as the spouse of her fiancé.

Supreme Court’s Ruling

After reviewing the details and applicable case law, the court ruled that the burden of proof requires that the wife show a need for maintenance or the inability to provide for herself. The court based the ruling on the new legislative economic-based theory. The wife can re-open the case and provide evidence that supports the continuation of maintenance as necessary for her to maintain independence in her current situation. Meanwhile, the court suspended maintenance, pending the outcome of the hearing to reopen the case.

If you have questions about spousal support, Attorney Chris Palermo will be glad you answer your questions and advise the best course of legal action.

A father recorded a conversation between his son and his ex-wife’s live-in boyfriend. Later on, when he turned in the recording as evidence, the boyfriend’s attorney challenged the admissibility of the recording, calling it illegal eavesdropping.

According to ABC News, the boy was five years old and the father decided in good faith that recording the violent conversation he was overhearing was necessary for his son’s protection. Months later, on when neighbors called the police because they heard screaming and crying, the father turned in the evidence. Authorities arrested the live-in boyfriend, Anthony Badalamenti, and he was convicted of child endangerment, assault and weapon possession.

The ruling set a precedent for parents being able to eavesdrop on their children when it is done in good faith for the child’s protection.

However, the judge in the case cautioned about certain limitations, including:

The ruling does not establish whether a parent can eavesdrop when an older child explicitly refuses to allow it during conversations with the other parent.

This case appears to set a broader precedent about parental eavesdropping than a similar earlier case. An earlier court ruling from a Brooklyn judge allowed evidence from a mother who placed a recorder in her autistic son’s backpack due to suspected abuse by his bus matron.

It will be interesting to see how New York case law develops regarding parents who eavesdrop on children.

If you have questions about whether to record events involving your child, discuss your concerns with attorney Chris Palermo.He will be glad to answer your questions and provide you with effective legal guidance.