Individuals going through a divorce in Illinois are likely to experience heartache and conflict even in the best of cases. However, those who are divorcing a toxic spouse could have it a lot worse. When it comes to divorcing a narcissist or high-conflict individual, there are a few ways to remove the toxicity from the process.
First, get everything in writing. It’s a good idea to make notes of all communications with a toxic ex. In many cases, it’s best to limit communication to written methods like email, text and messages sent between attorneys. Written communication serves as its own record and can often be used as evidence during family court proceedings. It can also make communications less combative as the writing process requires reflection that spoken communication does not.
Second, financial records should be gathered early. High-conflict individuals may use financial paperwork as a means of control, refusing to hand over important documents like tax returns, credit card bills and bank statements. These documents are often necessary to calculate things like property division, child support and alimony.
Third, children should be left out of the process. A narcissistic ex might seek to use the kids as leverage in divorce battles. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a third party available during custody exchanges. Keeping a detailed journal of daily parenting life may prove valuable in a case where an ex makes accusations of abuse.
Finally, if the behaviors of an ex cross the line into stalking or harassment, it may be necessary to secure a restraining order. An attorney with experience in divorce law may be able to help an individual during a high-conflict separation by offering advice regarding rights and responsibilities.