Mistakes people-pleasers make when divorcing a narcissist, from a divorce lawyer

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So common is it that a potential new client tells me that they are married to a narcissist, that I actually have a specific knowing smile in response and I swear to myself I should create a YouTube channel about divorce and narcissists. I’d make a fortune even if I only charged $5 a viewing.

Note: I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist and I have zero training to be preaching about personality disorders. Everything I know, I’ve learned on the job. Take it with a grain of salt.

Did Tom Cruise really love Katy Holmes? Or, did he love how she looked when he was looking down on her from his stool in their wedding photos? He certainly made a fool of himself in the name of love but wasn’t it really more about the attention he got? Despite reports that Katy “won” their divorce (or at least did better than Nicole Kidman), I’d put money on Tom bragging that he was the one who outsmarted her and that the reason he has Suri most of the time is because “he let her.”

Divorcing one of these gems? Here are some common mistakes people-pleasers make divorcing narcissists. Drum roll please. . .

  1. Not filing first. Assuming you have made the moral decision to get divorced, be the first one to file for divorce. The person who files first gets to go first. That means that party gets their story out first at the hearing on temporary orders and at trial. It means that person’s lawyer will give the first impression of the case. The person who goes second or last has the hard job of disproving what has already been said or suggested and retelling the story in his or her own light. It’s a compromising position. Most likely the narcissist will have a “poor baby” approach, as in, “I really had no choice but to file, since he doesn’t bring me coffee anymore” and with this story line going first, it forces the people-pleaser to get defensive which drowns out the real story, that being that there was no room for another person (you) in the marriage to a narcissist.
  2. Be ready to fight the obvious. A people-pleaser would never sell a car to a friend for a premium price, but a narcissist would. A narcissist would never concede you broke up with her, but a people-pleaser would let you have the final word. Do not assume that just because you have always taken care of the kids or operated the business that your spouse will concede that you are primarily responsible for those items. This is especially important because you need establish the status quo to your judge. Be ready to defend the last two years of painful homework projects or to demonstrate you have prepared all the company’s tax returns and landed the biggest client.
  3. Trying to prove a point. Don’t. Even. Try. What does it matter if you have won every battle or even the war? It will make no difference to the narcissist, who is still clothed as an emperor. Narcissists will walk out of a courtroom having been ridiculed by a judge and want to celebrate with the local sommelier’s choice in wine with red meat. Therefore, don’t think if you could just “show her” or you could just get the “judge to tell him”, that it will be downhill from there. Nope. You married a narcissist, so don’t for a second think that all the granted motions in the world will humble him.
  4. Not carbo-loading. Here it is, here is your permission to go to a buffet in jeggings. A narcissist plans on his spouse complying with his plan for division of assets and custody arrangement. In the narcissist’s mind, the narcissist will simply prepare the decree and the spouse will sign it. Divorcing a narcissist will not be over and done in a couple of months unless you give him everything he wants including the things he demands at the last minute. Oh yes, to a narcissist, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine”. Awarding all of the assets to the narcissist is just papering what is already true to a narcissist. Since you can’t make the narcissist understand that your inherited money is actually yours, you will have to set the case for trial and plan on going. It’s like a marathon: it takes a year to prepare for and complete and you are delirious at the finish line (if you make it). The only difference is you have a lot less money now, hate your lawyer (at least a little) and you may have kid issues to deal with. Like the jungle, the tired animals get eaten. So, carbo-load because this is going to take a while, you might as well enjoy it.
  5. Expecting mediation to work. Where a people-pleaser might get worn down by the long hours stuck in a room with a lawyer (gag), a narcissist is just getting started and is appreciating how all the professionals have their day tied up in what she will not agree to. Picture the scone-eating narcissist being asked if she would like creamer or milk in her tea while she contemplates whether or not she can live without his grandmother’s diamond watch. Go to mediation but have a plan and listen to your lawyer.
  6. Self-infliction. A narcissist is the blade a people-pleasure cuts himself with. The people-pleaser mistakes the narcissist’s joy as love. The joy was getting attention, not being with their “person.” The people-pleaser really loves the blade, and misses the blade even when the claws come out in court. Loving your spouse is not a bad thing. Love is an exhibit of our humanness, as beautiful as the body’s ability to heal itself or birth a baby. Deal with the love, loss, rejection and sadness without cutting yourself on the blade. Cut the nerve instead and cooperate with your spouse but don’t inflict new wounds on yourself. You will end up with the wounds and the narcissist will only feel better about herself because you “did it to yourself”.
  7. Be ready for Karpman’s triangle. According to Karpman, the cycle of dysfunctional relationships involves three roles: victim, persecutor and rescuer. Pay very close attention to the role you are playing in the drama cycle so you can learn what it is when the narcissist plays victim or rescuer. If your spouse said you would never see your kids again, get ready for him to play victim of the year when you are awarded primary of the kids. Offer him a compromise and get ready to be the victim when he takes advantage of your kindness.

Kelly Decker leaving Decker Jones to form firm with husband – Fort Worth Business Press March 1, 2017

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Decker Jones PC, the second oldest law firm in Fort Worth, and Attorney Kelly Decker jointly announced March 1 that she has left Decker Jones to start a new law firm with her husband, Fort Worth attorney Olyn Poole. The new firm will be called Decker Poole PLLC.

After starting her legal career at another Fort Worth-based firm, Decker joined Decker Jones 10 years ago. Her grandfather, Robert Decker, became a named partner of the firm over 50 years ago.

Having considered the idea of having her own law firm for several years, Decker decided the time was right to pursue her entrepreneurial desire to have her own law firm.

 “We will certainly miss having Kelly at our firm, but we are excited for her and wish her nothing but the very best,” said Senior Partner Chuck Milliken. “We will always consider her to be part of our family.”

“My 10 years with Decker Jones have been rewarding and exciting as I have developed my law practice,” said Decker. “I appreciate the mentorship I’ve received and know that being part of the Decker Jones family helped make me a better attorney. I have developed strong friendships with my partners at Decker Jones, which I know I will retain even though I am no longer ‘officially’ with the firm.”

The Decker Poole firm has signed a 1,770-square-foot office lease in Ridglea Bank Building at 6300 Ridglea Place in Fort Worth.

 Decker Jones was originally formed in 1896 and has grown into a full-service law firm comprised of 27 lawyers practicing in a variety of different areas including business and corporate law, merger and acquisitions, commercial and real estate litigation, construction law, employment law, estate and probate law, intellectual property, oil and gas, real estate, and family law. The law firm is headquartered in Fort Worth and has clients throughout Texas, across the United States and internationally.

www.deckerjones.com/

www.DeckerPoole.com

Kelly Decker of Decker Jones starts a new law firm – Star Telegram

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BY MAX B. BAKER
maxbaker@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH
Kelly Decker, who has worked at the Decker Jones law firm that her grandfather helped build, is leaving to start practice law in a new firm with her husband.

While there will no longer be a Decker among the 27 attorneys working at Decker Jones, the county’s second oldest law firm, the storied law firm will not change its name. Kelly Decker’s new firm with her husband,Olyn Poole, will be named Decker Poole.

Both Decker Jones and Kelly Decker, who joined the firm 10 years ago, parted ways as friends.

“We will certainly miss having Kelly at our firm, but we are excited for her and wish her nothing but the very best,” said senior partner Chuck Milliken in a prepared statement. “We will always consider her to be part of our family.”

Decker called her time at Decker Jones “rewarding and exciting.” After considering the idea of having her own law firm for several years, Kelly decided the time was right to pursue her entrepreneurial desire to have her own law firm and be her own boss.

“I appreciate the mentorship I’ve received and know that being part of the Decker Jones family helped make me a better attorney” said Kelly in a prepared statement. “I have developed strong friendships with my partners at Decker Jones, which I know I will retain even though I am no longer ‘officially’ with the firm.”

Decker Jones was formed in 1896 and has grown into a law firm practicing in a variety of areas including business and corporate law, merger and acquisitions and real estate litigation. While headquartered in Fort Worth, it has clients across Texas, the United States and internationally, a company release states.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article135977223.html#storylink=cpy

 

Choosing a Divorce Attorney

By | Divorce

This post is in response to the question I find being asked on Facebook, on Google, amongst friends and to me in confidence. These are my opinions as a 35 year old, 10 year lawyer (5 years in family law) and married mother of three. I say again, these are my opinions, this is NOT legal advice. If you want legal advice, hire a lawyer.

1. First – Do not look for a lawyer who will fix your problems.

Look for a lawyer who will get you a divorce and what you are entitled to under the law. Your problems will work out through therapy, prayer and time. Do not search for a lawyer that will “defend a mother/father’s rights”, that will “stand up to him”, that will “fight for you”. These concepts are marketing plans, not legal strategies. Of course your lawyer will stand up and fight for you, that’s a lawyer’s job period. Looking for a lawyer to represent you strongly is like looking for a pediatrician who vaccinates.

2. Get recommendations from like minded people and interview a few.

That doesn’t mean ask your friend who is all drama for one of her attorney’s names. Ask someone who is like you, who has the same temperament, budget and life goals as you. Then interview those people in person or over the phone. See if you are going to feel comfortable telling this person both sides of the story, including the one you’d rather not admit to yourself. You have to be comfortable, because if you are not, you will doubt the agreements, strategies and decisions you make later in the process. If you do end up doubting the path you’ve chosen in the process, it’s a time bomb waiting to explode and the subject matter of a different post.

3. Reputation = Value. 

There are lawyers in town that will charge $70k-$100k in less than 90 days making an absolute scene at the courthouse, all in the name of “fighting for their client”. Well, their client might feel empowered to hear their lawyer accuse their spouse of this, that, and the other, but they look like a fool to everyones else, including the judge. And, the community estate is wiped out before the ball even starts to roll. Like preschool, you need a lawyer that plays well with others even when they are opposed on a material issue. Its about communication, respect and ethics.

4. Lawyers aren’t like shoes – it’s not “you get what you pay for.”

In Tarrant County, lawyers typically charge between $200 and $750 per hour with a $2,500 to $50,000 retainer. Initial court costs/fees are in the $500 range. In many cases, there isn’t a difference between a $250 lawyer and a $750 lawyer. Don’t feel empowered just because your lawyer is more expensive. I hear spouses accusing the other of being “stupid” in their choice of an attorney simply because of the hourly rate. Don’t feel ill-prepared if your lawyer is less.  When you interview the lawyer, ask if he/she can estimate the range of fees they typically charge in your type of case. A smart lawyer will not guarantee anything, but can at least give you a worst and best case scenario. Board Certification is a great thing and qualifies that lawyer as an expert in the field. But if you ask some of the best lawyers in town, they will say Board Certification doesn’t have anything to do with it.

5. “I’ve never lost.” If a lawyer says that, run. RUN!

This means 1. they’ve never fought over close calls and therefore would be too risk averse to be aggressive when it matters and 2. they are liars. No, liars and lawyers are not synonymous.

6. Know this before you chose: At some point, YOU WILL HATE your lawyer.

That’s because, at some point, you will hear news you did not want to hear. You will find out about debt, you will learn you have to share your kids, you will discover that your lifestyle is out the window, you will find out he or she doesn’t want you back or you will be on the losing end of the judge’s order. Remember that the lawyer you choose wants to avoid surprise. My worst case scenario is when a client is shocked by a bad ruling. My job is to prepare him/her for all outcomes, good and bad, so that he/she can make an informed decision on what they want to fight for. That means, I’m going to sucker punch him/her with the truth so that he/she is prepared to hear it from the judge, when and if that happens.

7. Stop comparing.

Just stop. Don’t. You do not have the same marital troubles, kids, religion, family support, career and so on as the person who said she got $10,000 in spousal support per month and was able to move the kids to Canada. After you have picked your lawyer, tell him/her everything, and then follow his/her advice.