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VIDEO: "What is parental alienation?" Parental alienation is when a parent allows a child to participate or hear them degrade the other parent. This is not uncommon in divorces and the children often adjust. In severe cases, however, it can be devastating to the child. This video provides a helpful overview.
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Author Topic: How do I find lawyer with experience in custody issue w/ undiagnosed BPD spouse  (Read 79 times)
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Person in your life: Romantic partner
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« on: March 13, 2019, 03:37:03 PM »

Where can I find a lawyer who has knowledge and experience with BPD cases in Northern California, particularly in Oakland and Berkeley?
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Person in your life: Romantic partner’s ex
Posts: 362

« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 05:19:30 PM »

Hi Lost_since_2006, glad you found us here.

Have you tried avvo.com or expertlaw.com?

And feel free to pick our brains, too -- a lot of us have been through the process.

We're here for you! Hang in there and let us know how we can help.


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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 11030

We can be mended. We mend each other.

« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 08:36:15 AM »

This article about finding an assertive lawyer might be useful:


Bill Eddy, author of Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a NPD/BPD Spouse, also has his High Conflict Institute somewhere in California (highconflictinstitute.com). Staff might be able to recommend someone in your area, or provide consultation to your attorney if it comes to that.

Sometimes you can search for keywords like "high-conflict divorce" or "parental alienation" to find attorneys experienced with BPD/NPD.

How are you holding up?
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 04:24:11 PM »

I just finished reading Bill Eddy's book, Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a NPD/BPD Spouse and also contacted High Conflict Institute for attorney referrals.
I appreciate the article. I'll start reading it today.

Wow, this community provides a wealth of information and support.

I am currently trying to get my spouse to see a psychologist as he's ignorant on mental disorders and refuses to believe he has a disorder(s). His behavior for the past 15 years has been unexpectedly, extreme and erratic anger over seemingly minor issues. He distorts facts of events to make it seem he has a reason to be angry. He blames me when things go wrong. He has 2 domestic violence police records that I filed after he assaulted me. He went to therapy with FMT and attended a mens group weekly for anger management for 3 years to show he was making the effort to change so would stay together. After he stopped FMT therapy, our daughter was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and possibly Asperger. My husband's father, who was an abusive father during childhood, then committed suicide at the age of 79. His father seemed to have similar traits as my husband but I didn't know him well because we met only 3 times since he lived in another country.  All these occurrences lead me to suspect mental disorders could run in his family, but no one in his family has mentioned anything.

Currently, I need help and a lawyer because my, academically intelligent, high-functioning, and professionally working husband wants to get back partial custody of our kids after he gave me 100% custody in court to agree to my terms to work on our marriage. He is now accusing me of taking his kids away from him. The kids and I do not live in the same house with him, but we're still marriage and sometimes do things as a family when he's not angry.

It's complicated and I am exhausted. I do not want my husband to have even partial custody of the kids because I worry that he will become angry unexpectedly and possibly abusive with them when I'm not around. He does not have a pattern of abuse with the kids, however, he has be in abusive rages with me, name calling, yelling, and throwing things in front of the kids because he can't control his emotions when he becomes angry until a few hours to days later.

What I want to ask the community is what do you tell your kids when they see their father verbally in rage and sometime throwing things for minor issues? They are old enough, 9 and 12 years old daughters, to know their father's behavior is different from their friends' fathers. How do you explain their father having a mental disorder, such as BPD, to your kids or should you not? It is becoming increasing obvious that their father's behavior is irrational and unexplainably angry as they've seen many times.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 11:43:36 AM »

That sounds like a tough situation.

Are your kids in therapy?  In my state, judges default to ensuring that each parent can see the kids but a therapist's recommendation can be really influential in determining how often a disordered parent is allowed to see them - and whether it has to be supervised visitation.

A lawyer will be able to help you understand what the laws are in your state.  In mine, your H would be able to go to court and easily get partial custody - some jurisdictions don't care so much if the kids have witnessed domestic violence, but they do care if the kids have been the victims.  (We googled "<cityname> lawyer custody mental illness" to get a list of potential lawyers.)

My SD11's mother is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but she meets all the criteria for BPD.  We've chosen not to mention BPD to SD...but we talk regularly about how her mom's brain works differently than ours, and that mom's brain interprets comments and actions in a very very different way than people who don't have her disorder.  We reassure that it isn't SD's fault, and that SD can't fix her mom or change mom's actions.  We empathize that yes, we also feel sad for mom, but the only thing in our power is to help SD set strong boundaries so she isn't impacted too much by her mom's unhealthy behavior and coping patterns. 

Since your H rages, it's also important to teach the girls how to protect themselves, if they haven't already figured it out.  My dad had PTSD and anger issues.  We learned as small kids to be quiet and watch and listen to figure out what dad's mood was that day, and we learned how to remove ourselves from the situation when he was triggered. 
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