Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
Updated: Jul 25
A frequent question we get from divorced or separated parents is how to deal with a narcissistic ex. By definition, a narcissist (n.) lacks empathy for others and only cares about their own inflated ego. Pair this character trait with the dynamics of co-parenting and you have a power struggle dysfunction! In a healthy co-parenting relationship, both parties put forth the best interest of the children. That isn't to say that issues never arise, but for the most part --they can be ironed out.
Let's take a look at some of the ways you can legally disarm a narcissist co-parent from creating turmoil in your life, assuring through legal avenues that your children are always put first (and maybe save a little sanity while you're at it...).
One of the best lines of defense against abusive or harassing communication is to request a court-ordered parenting communication app. Not only does this dissuade manipulation through communication, it is also admissible in court. By keeping communications on a monitored platform, you take back your power should the need arise to address any negative behavior in court. Another thing about parenting apps is that they can restrict abusive or profane language all together. A judge can also monitor the conversations if need be. In our experience, court ordered parenting communication apps can improve the co-parenting experience between two parties. It may also reveal the true character of co-parents who may be accustomed to manipulating their way through the court system.
The main legal consideration for time-sharing is whatever is in the best interest of the children. When two parties have to decide what "best" may be, this can create conflict. If you are concerned about a narcissistic ex-partner manipulating the time-sharing agreement, here's one important thing to remember: the court uses 23 criteria to determine what is in the best interest of the children. Co-parenting with a narcissist may include parental alienation, uncooperative behavior, or a parent who puts their desires and wishes above the wellbeing of the children. All of this is taken into account through the courts when determining time-sharing schedules, and can work in your favor if you are able to establish that the other parent isn't living up to the determining criteria.
3. Child Support
Child support is established by a calculation through the Florida Child Support Calculation Worksheet. The worksheet takes into account both parents incomes and this determines the monthly financial means needed to care for the children. There are many factors that go into the calculation such as which parent provides health insurance, the time-sharing schedule, etc. One thing many clients face when co-parenting with a narcissist is the failure to comply after child support is ordered. There are a few ways to address this or even prevent it if you are just now contemplating court ordered child support. The fastest is to request an income withholding order. This requires the other parent's employer to deduct child support from their paychecks and send it to the state disbursement unit. By issuing an income withholding order, you take yourself out of the equation so to speak. You will not have to communicate with the other party about child support; the state will step in to collect and disburse the payments to you. If the other party fails to pay, the state will take legal action against them to pay their child support which include an enforcement action by Florida's Attorney General for failure to pay child support.
Co-parenting with a narcissist may seem like a never-ending nightmare. Luckily, there are safeguards through the courts to protect you from abusive, manipulative, and destructive behaviors. Max Factor and his team are here to help you gather and present evidence legally in court so that the best interest of the children is understood in its' full scope through facts and truth.
Max Factor, Attorney at Law, P.A. focuses on divorce law, family law, and insurance law and they are based Tallahassee, Florida. Max Factor can help with divorce matters, child custody, alimony, mediation, separation, property division, child support matters, high-net worth divorce, and storm damage claims. He is licensed in the state of Florida and Georgia. To learn more about Max and his team, visit maxfactorlaw.com/contact_us/ and send us your information - we are here to help.