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Spouses with personality disorders can complicate divorce

A great many Texas residents who choose to file for divorce do so because of conflicting personalities with their spouse. Whether they've been married for one year or 50, many couples stop getting along and decide they can't handle each other's moods, habits and idiosyncrasies anymore. This is fairly common, but sometimes clinical psychological problems rise above the level of annoying quirks.

Narcissism, for example, may seem to apply to anyone who is overly self-important and condescending, but it's a very real disorder that can cause major problems in a marriage as well as seriously impede the process of divorce. Narcissists tend to have an exaggerated sense of superiority and a need to be admired constantly. They are usually controlling, manipulative and unwilling to identify with other people's needs, even their spouse's. If you're divorcing a narcissist, you'll need to be prepared for a long, uphill battle.

It's a good idea to be financially prepared. That means having extra cash on hand and your own credit card and bank accounts. You should also do whatever you can to improve your credit in the event you have to apply for a personal loan.

You should also have your paperwork in order before telling your spouse you want a divorce, if you haven't already discussed it. He or she may try to fight you by refusing to hand over documents you ask for, so the more documents you can access by yourself, the better.

Having a solid family law attorney is essential, especially one with experience in contested divorces. It also helps if your attorney is experienced in domestic abuse issues and how they apply to divorce procedures in Texas.

Other professionals you may want to consider bringing in are a licensed therapist -- especially one who is well-versed in narcissistic personality disorder -- and a financial planner who focuses on divorces. Divorcing a narcissistic spouse won't be easy, but with a qualified team of professionals on your side, you should have an easier time weathering the storm.

Source: Forbes, "Financial Strategies for Divorcing A Narcissist," Jeff Landers, Dec. 11, 2012

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