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Divorcing from a Partner with a Personality Disorder

Obtaining a divorce can be complicated and overwhelming under most circumstances. On top of that, a spouse with a personality disorder adds another level of complication. The thought of leaving a partner with a personality disorder can be scary ... You may not know how your spouse will react ... You may have children to protect. Despite these fears, if the safety and well-being of you and your children are at risk, divorce may be the best option. 

The most common personality disorders in family court are:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD): characterized by wide mood swings, intense anger even at benign events; idealization, such as of his or her spouse or attorney, followed by devaluation of that same person;
  • Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD): characterized by great preoccupation with him or herself to the exclusion of others; possibly, vulnerable, which can appear similar to BPD, causing distorted perceptions of victimization followed by intense anger; or, invulnerable, detached, believes he or she is superior and automatically entitled to special treatment;
  • Histrionic personality disorder: similar to BPD, with less anger and more chaos;
  • Antisocial personality disorder: characterized by extreme disregard for the rules of society and having very little empathy;
  • Dependent personality disorder: preoccupied with helplessness and passivity, rarely the aggressor in court, often marries a more aggressive spouse who, sometimes, has a personality disorder

Living with a spouse who suffers from one of these disorders could be dangerous for you or your family. You should not feel unsafe or scared in your own home. Divorce or legal separation may be the best resolution. In a high-conflict divorce involving someone with a personality disorder, many factors must be considered. The person with the disorder may not understand your reason for a divorce and may not be concerned about the well-being of the family. The consequence can be contentious debates about property division, child custody, and other issues. Our experienced California divorce attorneys can ease your stress and get you through this difficult process.

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