How do I show the court about my sons non-diagnosed NPD mother to get a sole custody?
Oh, ho, ho, ho! So you want to prove your wife has Narcissistic Personality Disorder do you? And you believe that proving it (if you can) will result in you being awarded custody of your son?
I wouldn’t do it, unless you can prove your case virtually beyond a reasonable doubt—and that’s a tall order.
In my experience (21 years as a divorce attorney), trying to win custody by trying to prove your spouse suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is an exercise in futility at best, and an undue risk of backfiring on you at worst.
Such claims are greeted with heavy skepticism from courts. “Personality disorder” sounds like pseudoscience (much of what gets presented to the courts on the subject is). Claiming someone has a personality disorder can also cause you to appear to be something of a wimp: “So your spouse is hard to get along with. Quelle surprise. Is it any wonder you’re getting divorced? ” And claims that your spouse has a disorder often carry that whiff of the self-serving (“Oh, so it’s your spouse and her ‘personality disorder’ that are to blame, huh? Nothing you did, eh? ‘Looks like you’re trying to avoid responsibility for your own mess.”).
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that personality disorders can be, in some cases, are so severe and so ruinous of a marriage and family. But it’s so hard to prove. There are many reasons. One, courts these days generally don’t take diagnoses of personality disorders seriously. Two, some people with personality disorders can be quite adept at fooling the diagnostic tests.
Some people think, “If I get an expert witness, then the court will really take notice!” I disagree. Courts appear to be growing less and less trusting of expert witnesses. That’s probably a good development overall because for years much of what was passing for “scientific” and “expert” opinion—particularly in the family law arena—was junk science—there was nothing scientific about it. It ruined lives. So again, you run into skepticism and even resistance to expert witnesses on the subject of personality disorders.
Rather than focusing your case on proving the existence of the other parent’s personality disorder, focus on providing the court with evidence of your spouse’s specific behaviors that are causing so much harm to you, your children, and the family collectively. If you have clear-cut evidence—and enough of such evidence—then the court will be more comfortable with this kind of evidence and more accepting of it.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277