Tag: rules

How is a narcissist exposed in a court of law?

You’re not asking the best question. 

First, understand that many divorcing people see their spouses as “narcissistic” because at the time of divorce they tend to see the worst in everything about their spouses. Little personality quirks and foibles of a spouse are magnified in the eyes of the other spouse to help the other spouse feel better about themselves and their arguments for divorce. So before you set out to “expose” your spouse as a narcissist, be sure that it’s true.  

Second, there are varying degrees of narcissism. Someone who is self-absorbed, egomaniacal, and manipulative may be irritating to live and work with, but that alone isn’t a sufficient basis to entitle a spouse to more or less alimony or child custody or parent-time, for example. The condition alone is not a sufficient reason alone to deny a parent custody or parent-time. If a parent has a flaw or handicap, it’s not the handicap that’s inherently the problem, the problem is whether that flaw or handicap has done you or the marital estate real damage, whether the flaw or handicap renders a parent unfit to exercise care and custody of the children. It’s not the narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) itself that is a problem, it’s whether the NPD sufferer is behaving in a way that causes legally recognized and punishable harm to the spouse and/or children.  


The court doesn’t know (or usually care) what it means when you subjectively say, “My spouse is a narcissist.” But the court can understand and respond to objective, independently verifiable facts, i.e., here is the proof that my spouse: 

  • gambles away the rent money;  
  • beats the kids and me; 
  • gets drunk and passes out while the kids play in the traffic;
  • lies to get away with: 
    • breaking the law; 
    • physically injuring others; 
    • avoiding accountability and responsibility; and 
    • taking advantage of others  

If your spouse is so narcissistic that he or she is doing you or the kids real harm or putting you or the kids at risk of serious harm, then you must show the court, based upon independently verifiable proof (not just your word over that of your spouse) that the other spouse/parent has done wrong, is in the process of doing wrong, attempting to do wrong, or poses a serious danger of doing harm. Only when you can show the wrong first may the cause the why or how matter. With all that stated, I concede that some judges have an uncanny ability to see the worst in people, and to be duped. You would think they’d be especially attuned and on the lookout for the liars and con-men (and women), but that often not the case. Don’t let the court be charmed and taken in by lies, brown nosing, and alarmism either. Don’t let the court play favorites or come to hasty and biased conclusions. Call out the court if and when it puts subjective feelings over objective facts (or the lack thereof). 

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Yes, unless you can persuade the court that some or all of the discovery requests:

  • violate the rules governing discovery, such as exceeding the number of discovery requests allowed;
  • are unreasonable and/or disproportional (given the needs of the case);
  • are not legitimate but instead serve the purpose of causing you annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense; and/or
  • are not reasonably likely to lead to discoverable evidence can be sought through discovery.

If the court agrees with these kinds of arguments, then the court can order that you are under no obligation to respond to the improper discovery requests.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why do people need legal advisors if all the laws can be found on the Internet?

Why do people need legal advisors (I’m not referring to litigators) if all the laws can be found on the Internet?

Good question, and the answer is simple and clear:

There are many times when people need legal experts (and that usually means lawyers) to advise them—even though all the laws can be found on the Internet—because even if you know where a law can be found that does not mean you know what the law means or how it applies or functions.

While some laws could be compared to instruction sheets or recipes, i.e., “If this and this happens, then that is the consequence,” other laws define terms, other laws give judges a range of and limitations to their authority (called discretion), other laws describe the elements of crimes or civil causes of action that have to be met to “win” the case.

Even if you read a particular law, rule, or regulation, there is a large legal vocabulary you would need to understand to make sense of them. Do you know what a tortfeasor is? A prima face case? An ex parte motion? A percipient witness? You get the idea.

Even if you read a particular law, rule, and/or regulation and believed you understood how the courts and government agencies apply them, your belief would not matter if the interpretation and construction of the law were declared to be something else by the Supreme Court, or by some other applicable appellate court or by the agency that is responsible for interpreting and construing rules and regulations.

Worse, the interpretation and construction of laws changes. Just look at how the meaning and application of the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution have changed and developed over time. So unless you are keeping up with these developments and know where to find the current interpretations and construction (to say nothing of ensuring that laws and rules you find online weren’t repealed some time in the past but nobody bothered to update the website), you can—and should—seek the help of specialists and experts on the subject of law, its creation, its meaning, and its application.

This is why simply knowing where to find a law does not mean you would necessarily know what it means or how it applies and thus not how it affects or may affect you.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Click to listen highlighted text!