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Difficult partners can present unique challenges in legal proceedings. The difficulties experienced often involve a focus on self-centeredness, a lack of empathy, manipulation, abusive behaviour and a desire for control. Some clients describe their partners as ‘narcissists’ or having narcissistic traits (whether or not there is an actual diagnosis); others will describe their difficult partner as abusive or hard to manage in some way.  These behaviours can complicate family law proceedings and impact various aspects of the process.

Given these challenges, it's essential for the person impacted by the behaviour to appoint an experienced family lawyer who understands the dynamics of relationships with difficult partners and who will listen to your concerns. Our family law team has detailed experience dealing with challenging cases and can help you navigate the legal process and develop strategies to protect your rights, interests and wellbeing.

Contact our experienced family law team confidentially on 01473 232121, complete our contact form, or email us at familylaw@prettys.co.uk.

Our experienced team are vigilant when dealing with cases that may involve elements of what can sometimes be considered narcissistic traits or behaviours and will use various strategies to address these challenges and protect our clients' interests to seek to ensure a fair resolution.

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We are experienced in all styles of resolution, including alternative dispute resolution methods which may be more suitable for dealing with a challenging partner as they are less adversarial.

They were interested, creative, consultative, and did not take a cookie-cutter approach to their work' 

Legal 500 [UK 2024] 

Is it narcissism?

Difficult or abusive individuals can be skilled at manipulation and presenting a facade of charm and charisma. However, there are certain behavioural and personality traits that may indicate these behaviours, or suggestions of narcissism, in the context of family law including: a lack of empathy, constant need for validation, entitlement, blaming others, an intense reaction to criticism and unrealistic demands. 

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Legal implications of dealing with difficult partners

  1. High-conflict behaviour: These individuals may engage in high-conflict behaviours during legal proceedings, such as constant litigation, frivolous legal applications and attempts to wear down the other person through legal manoeuvres. This can prolong the process and increase legal costs.
  2. Alienating behaviours: Difficult partners may use tactics like behaviours, often seen as alienating, to turn the children against the other parent, making it challenging to negotiate arrangements for children. Courts may need to intervene to protect the children's best interests.
  3. Financial manipulation: Some partners may attempt to hide assets, undervalue their income, or engage in financial manipulation to gain a more favourable financial settlement. Forensic accountants and financial experts may be required to re-value or uncover hidden assets.
  4. Emotional manipulation: It is not uncommon to see emotional manipulation tactics deployed to elicit sympathy or manipulate court proceedings.  The person impacted by the behaviour in the relationship can often feel confused about what is happening, why and how discussions end as they do.
  5. False allegations: False accusations of abuse or misconduct against the other person may be made to gain a tactical advantage. 
  6. Lack of cooperation: Difficult partners may resist cooperation, mediation, or negotiation, preferring to impose their will on the proceedings. This can hinder efforts to reach amicable settlements.

We will listen, discuss the case in detail and advise on the most appropriate style of resolution help you to reach the outcome that is important to you. Please note we do not offer legal aid but are always happy to talk over your case and fees.

Contact our experienced family law team confidentially on 01473 232121, complete our contact form, or email us at familylaw@prettys.co.uk.

Please note we do not offer legal aid but are always happy to talk over your case and fees.

Expert
Georgie Hall
Partner, Head of Private Client Services, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer
Georgina Rayment
Partner, Head of Family, Mediator
Victoria Mayhew
Senior Associate Solicitor, Accredited Mediator
Sarina Bailey
Associate