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Child Custody: how can you co-parent with a narcissist?

Joint custody is by law the preferred custody arrangement when parents in Arizona divorce. These custody orders are designed with the best interests of the child in mind. While it is up to the parents to keep to the terms of the agreement, it is often best to take steps to make the matter amicable and more successful for everyone.

Even though parents develop a co-parenting agreement with the idea that they will collaborate and openly communicate for their child or children, this is not always an easy process. It can take some time to acclimate to, especially since if parents had parenting issues during their marriage, it is likely that these issues will persist post-divorce as well. This could lead to often difficult custody disputes, especially when a parent's personality disorder interferes with the co-parenting process.

How can you co-parent with a narcissist? When a person lives with narcissistic personality disorder, this is usually marked with traits such as having an exaggerated sense of self-importance, arrogance and entitlement. These individuals do not acknowledge the feelings and needs of others, and apologies are typically non-existent.

A parent with this personality disorder can present challenges to a co-parenting or joint custody arrangement. Because a narcissist wants to be the center of attention, it can be difficult to resolve the problems of the children appropriately. When co-parenting with a parent with this personality disorder, it is important to note that you cannot change them. Instead, it is paramount to focus on maintaining a safe and loving relationship with your children, helping to reduce any negative impact the situation might have on the child.

While a co-parenting agreement is often an aspiring custody order to obtain, these arrangements can present challenges and obstacles if the language in the custody order is not comprehensive and specific.  Using fill in the blank forms to create a custody order can result in continual fights over the terms of the plan.  If you are dealing with this or any other family law issue, it is important to understand what rights you have and what options are available to you.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Co-Parenting With A Narcisisst," Susan Stiffelman, Oct. 10, 2016

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