Divorcing a Sociopath in the State of California
About one percent of adults are affected by antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy (Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)/ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Because a sociopath has no regard for the feelings of others, divorcing a sociopath is likely to be an extremely difficult experience. They won’t hesitate to use the litigation process to punish, manipulate, or hurt you in any way they see fit. The first thing you need to do if you are facing a divorce from a sociopathic partner is hire qualified counsel. After you hire counsel, you need to prepare for the battle that is likely ahead of you by learning more.
- Although a sociopath may value some people as an extension or reflection of themselves, they are unable to experience true empathetic love for other people. This means they are not afraid to use people as pawns to get what they want. They may use their own children as leverage with little regard for what would be best for them.
- Sociopaths may be violent or dangerous during marriage or divorce. They may abuse their spouse or children without remorse.
- Sociopaths may display a preference for many short-term sexual relationships. The emotional ties that bind many people to their partners are absent, they may seek anonymous liaisons, with no concern for the health of their current partner. The parade of new partners may have harmful effects if witnessed by their children.
- Sociopaths may be outwardly charming to other people. People are trusting, and you may be frustrated when other people are deceived by your ex-spouse. Nurture the relationships in your life and act with integrity, but accept the fact that you cannot control the actions or perceptions of other people. In many or most cases, the sociopath‘s long term pattern of behaviour will expose them to most others in due time.
- Hire an experienced divorce attorney who is a certified family law specialist. You are likely to face severe litigation challenges if your ex-spouse is a sociopath, and you need expert counsel to shepherd you through this process.
- Identify your support network. You will need all types of support during this process. You specifically need to shore yourself up so you can support to your children. Identify the people in your life who can provide the types of support you may need: emotional, spiritual, practical (including childcare), financial, etc.
- Arm yourself with knowledge. Many books have been written for lay persons with instructions for protecting oneself from a sociopath. Try this one, this one, or this one.
- Channel communications with your ex-spouse through your attorney’s office. Refrain from direct communication or face to face contact with your sociopathic ex where possible.
- Document anything and everything related to your case. Save text messages, voicemails, etc. If a crime is committed, report it directly to the police and request a copy of the police report.
- Consider hiring a professional counselor or therapist to see you through this process, preferably one who has experience helping people affected by sociopathic partners.
Do you have a divorce or family law question?
Call our office today. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. Call (949) 363-5551 to learn more.
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