Can I Get the Court to Force My NPD Spouse to Be Tested?

Should I attempt to / is it possible to have my court order my NPD to undergo psychological testing before he can get access to our child?

First, let’s break down the bases for your resistance to you ex-spouse having access to your child:
  • My ex suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • I want my ex to undergo psychological testing to determine whether it’s in our child’s best interest for my ex to have access to our child.

Next, we’ll break your question down into its separate, distinct parts before answering it:

Is it possible to have my court order changed to dictate that my NPD ex must undergo psychological testing before gaining access to our child?

Should I attempt to have my court order changed to dictate that my NPD ex must undergo psychological testing before gaining access to our child?

Now to the answers:
  1. The existence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in someone is hard to prove. Popular culture likes to create and perpetuate the impression that psychologists are infallible truth detectors, but they are not. Perversely, those who have NPD often know that they have it, and they know how to hide it.
  2. Besides, even if you were able to prove to the satisfaction of the court that your ex suffers from NPD, the court may simply determine that your ex is a self-centered jerk, but not undeserving of contact with his/her own child.
  3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not inherently dangerous to anyone. Extreme narcissism may lead to harmful behavior, but a parent suffering from NPD alone is not inherently dangerous to children. Even if you can prove your spouse suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that does not mean that your ex cannot or should not have contact with his/her own child. The “dangers” of NPD probably do not justify denying apparent contact with the child, or a child contact with the parent, even if that parent is flawed.
So is it possible to have the court modify the visitation or parent time order to prohibit your ex having contact with your child until your ex is proven to be psychologically safe for the child?


Is it likely that the court would deem NPD rendering your ex psychologically unsafe for your child? Probably not (for the reasons numbered above).

So should you attempt to have your court order changed to dictate that your NPD ex must undergo psychological testing before gaining access to your child? In my opinion, no. That would probably be a waste of your time, effort, and money because I do not believe that most judges would find a compelling reason to order testing in the first place, or to deny parent-child interaction on the basis of NPD alone.

A better use of your resources might be getting a counselor or therapist for your child to help him/her understand his/her father’s personality and the behavior that results from it.

DO NOT misunderstand me here:

It could very well be that your NPD ex is not doing, and will not do, your child any actual harm because of NPD. Lots of people are self-centered jerks, but we coexist with them easily enough. Simply because your ex is NPD does not make him/her a bad person or a bad parent and thus does not automatically justify enrolling a child in counseling or therapy. If a parent wants to accuse another parent of suffering from some kind of personality, psychological, or emotional disorder for the purpose of alienating that parent from the children, that is a form of child abuse.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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